Teddy Thomas obituary


My father, Teddy Thomas, who has died aged 89, was a outstanding determine in grownup schooling each nationally and internationally, publishing and modifying quite a few books and articles (as JE Thomas) and serving because the Robert Friends professor of grownup schooling on the College of Nottingham from 1989 till his retirement in 1996. He was additionally head of the division of grownup schooling and dean of the college of schooling, and in 1990 was appointed senior pro-vice-chancellor of the college. In 1982 he co-founded the Worldwide Journal of Lifelong Training, which he co-edited for its first 15 years.

Teddy wrote 16 books on such various subjects because the final invasion of Britain, the definitive historical past of English prisons, a biography of the Victorian author and clergyman Sabine Baring-Gould and a social historical past of contemporary Japan. His ultimate ebook, The Grandest Larceny, an account of the creation of the state of Israel, shall be printed posthumously this month.

He was named James Edward, however referred to as Teddy from childhood. Regardless of a humble begin in a council home in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, six-year-old Teddy overcame the lack of his father, James – killed when his fishing trawler hit a German mine – to pursue a path of educational excellence. The 1944 Training Act allowed him, inspired by his mom, Margaret (nee Absalom), a housewife, to attend Haverfordwest grammar faculty, which led him to check English at St Peter’s Faculty, Oxford, the place he was tutored by JRR Tolkien. Finally, he earned 5 levels, together with two doctorates, from universities together with London, York and Nottingham, in addition to his BA and MA from Oxford.

Teddy launched into a diversified profession after his research, working for the Colonial Workplace in Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia) from 1957 to 1959, and later served within the Jail Service, at Feltham borstal after which as assistant governor of Wakefield jail from 1962 to 1967, the place he developed a easy however highly effective mantra: “Nobody is past hope. Anybody, given an opportunity, can change.”

However his true calling was in schooling, and in his mid-30s he discovered his life’s goal, becoming a member of Hull College as a lecturer in 1967, then shifting to Nottingham in 1979. He joined the College of Nottingham in 1979 as reader within the division of grownup schooling. His personal story of non-public transformation by way of schooling was the driving pressure behind his deep conviction that anybody can transcend their circumstances, with the fitting alternatives and help.

Teddy had many skills – he was, for example, an achieved musician, enjoying the trumpet for the Nationwide Youth Orchestra of Wales, amongst different bands, choirs and orchestras.

He met Olwen Yolland, a biologist, in Haverfordwest in 1953, they usually married in 1957. He’s survived by Olwen and their two kids – my brother, Simon, and me – and 4 grandchildren, Joe, Emily, Henry and Tilly.


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