Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

John Bowman Thomas, Professor Emeritus, dies at 93

October 10, 2018

Professor Emeritus John Bowman Thomas passed away peacefully in his daughter’s home on Thursday September 13, 2018. He taught at Princeton for 35 years from 1955 to 1990 when he retired. He first joined the Princeton faculty as an assistant professor of electrical engineering, and was promoted to full professor in 1962. During his 35 years at Princeton, he was the author of numerous technical books and articles and received many research grants from a variety of different sources. He was a devoted teacher, especially of his graduate students, many of whom went on to become professors at distinguished universities around the world.

Professor Thomas was born on July 14, 1925 in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. He was a graduate of Gettysburg College (B.A.), Johns Hopkins University (B.S.), and Stanford University (M.S. and Ph.D). He served in the United States Army from 1944-1946 during World War II. After leaving the Army, he became an electrical engineer, and later assistant chief engineer, at Koppers Company, Inc. from 1946 to 1952. He then enrolled at Stanford University where he completed his graduate training in 1955.

Professor Thomas married Eleanor Graefe on June 3, 1944. They were happily married for 67 years before she preceded him in death. They spent many wonderful years together in retirement at their home in Santa Margarita, California. They are survived by six children – four daughters and two sons—and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

According to his wishes, no memorial service will be held.  In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks that you send emails containing any fond remembrances of Professor Thomas that you wish to share with their family. The email address for correspondence is Randall.Thomas@Vanderbilt.Edu