Funeral Services Set for Longtime HOF Illustrator

General Published on : 1/24/2022
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Jan. 29, in Cleveland for Gary Thomas Sr., a gifted artist who for five decades was commissioned to create illustrations for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Thomas, 85, passed away Jan. 18.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Thomas graduated from Glenville High School on the city’s east side, then studied art at Syracuse University and the Cooper School of Art in Cleveland.

He created artwork and illustrations for numerous companies, universities and sports teams in his lengthy professional career.

In 1963, with the opening of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Thomas was commissioned to create action drawings of players that were unveiled along with their busts at the time of their enshrinement. Typically, the player and his presenter would be photographed flanking the murals Thomas created.

He continued creating the artwork for the Hall of Fame for 50 years.

Thomas and his wife, Dolly, were the parents of two children, grandparents of five and great-grandparents of one.
EF Boyd and Son Funeral Home in Warrensville Heights is handling arrangements. Public viewing will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday. Jan. 28 at the Boyd chapel at 25900 Emery Road. The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Jan. 29 at Mount Zion Congregational Church, UCC, 10723 Magnolia Drive in Cleveland.