Dr. Mike Thomas passed away on September 3, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. Mike was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. With his father in the Army, Mike moved all over the world as a child, living in many places in both the United States and abroad. He received bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology in 1966 and 1968, respectively, from Jacksonville State University, followed by his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in 1973. After graduating from veterinary school, Mike was an officer in the US Army Veterinary Corps at Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 1976, he moved to Tampa, Florida where he worked as an associate veterinarian for multiple practices and as the director of an emergency clinic. Mike began his imaging residency at Texas A & M University in 1982 and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology in 1986.
To the great fortune of veterinary students and residents, Mike spent the majority of his career in academia. He began his career as a radiologist at Michigan State University. He then moved south to Mississippi State University in 1991. After 10 years there, he began his position as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Illinois until 2007, when he returned to Mississippi State University as a Clinical Professor. Throughout his career, Mike was also a partner for veterinary practices in the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos. After retiring from Mississippi State University in 2014, Mike began working full‐time for Antech Imaging Services. Mike was a brilliant man with a wealth of knowledge, not only about veterinary medicine, but also about the world. He never hesitated to share his knowledge with those around him, enlightening all with whom he came in contact. His memory was impressive; he never forgot a name and often regaled his students and colleagues with very detailed stories from his past. He was loved by all students as he not only imparted to them practical knowledge about veterinary medicine and imaging, but also shared with them his wisdom about life, usually with a humorous twist. He brought this humor and wisdom to the clinic and classroom while maintaining high standards of education for students and residents. Mike was also very outgoing; he would never hesitate to call out to a former trainee or student from another booth at a restaurant or in line at the grocery store.
Mike was an avid photographer and huntsman. He had a passion for collecting various types of weaponry. He was also a skilled fisherman, sailor, and diver. He spoke fondly of his trips to the Caribbean practices, not only for these recreational activities, but also for the times he was able to spend with his friends and colleagues there.
Mike will be most fondly remembered for his kindness and compassion. He was humble and selfless and would do anything for his students, residents, colleagues, and friends. He bonded with many students over the years and maintained strong lifelong friendships. He kept in regular contact with his friends with standing dinner or lunch dates and regular weekly scheduled phone calls. While Mike lived by himself, he was never alone. He had many close friendships with people from all over the world of all ages and vocations. He was thoughtful and generous, always thinking of others before himself. During his regular visits to the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) after his retirement, Mike would often bring the ladies in the reception area gardenias from his plants and would pick up small gifts for friends just because he thought they would appreciate them and to brighten their days. He was well known in his community and loved by the nurses and caretakers with whom he formed strong friendships, never forgetting to bring orchids and holiday goodies to those who cared for him.
Mike Thomas was a valuable teacher, colleague, and, most of all, friend. He is terribly missed.
Dr. Erin Brinkman
Dr. Jennifer Gambino
Dr. Alison Lee
Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2018;59(2):251.