Billy Eugene “Gene” Thomas, 83, passed away on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at Essex Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Lebanon. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 14, 1936; a son of the late Hobert McKinley and Gertrude Louise (Irvin) Thomas.

He attended school in Tennessee and following school he served his country honorably in the U.S. Army.

When Gene returned from service in the military, he began his career in the auto industry working for Shelby Chevrolet in Lebanon for ten years. In 1968, he was employed with General Motors as a regional area service manager, until he retired at the age of 65. He was a mechanic for the 3K Racing Team at the Indianapolis 500 with driver Mel Kenyon from 1966 to 1976. Gene also handled public relations for Chevrolet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Indy 500.

He was a member of Elizaville Christian Church and Knights of Pythias.

Gene enjoyed spending time with his family, boating, fishing, fixing up classic cars, traveling and taking his children auto racing.

Survivors:
Sons: Tony Thomas and companion, Sarah Deakins of Lebanon
Todd Thomas of Brownsburg, Indiana

Daughter: Luann Hansen of Sarasota, Florida

Grandchildren: Trosten Thomas
Tyler Thomas
Paul Thomas
Bethany Thomas
Michaela Thomas
Brandon Becker
Shane Becker

Brother: Hobert “Bud” Thomas of Indianapolis

In addition to his parents, Gene was preceded in death by a son, Trevor Thomas; a grandson, Jacob Thomas; a brother, Claude Thomas; and sisters, Gladys Seals and Marion Dossett.

A Memorial Service with Military Rites is planned for 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, at Myers Mortuary, 1502 North Lebanon Street, Lebanon, Indiana.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until the time of service on Tuesday at the funeral home in Lebanon.

Boone County Crematory in Lebanon has been entrusted with his cremation arrangements. Memorials in his memory may be given to the charity of the donor’s choice.