COX Houston O’Neal Thomas
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COX Houston O'Neal Thomas
Houston O’Neal Thomas was born Dec. 21, 1920 in Bowie County in northeast Texas near the Arkansas border. His father, Samuel Houston Thomas, was a saw-mill laborer and later a police officer, and his mother, Ethel Meadow Thomas, a homemaker.
On Jan. 28, 1920 the parents and their first child, Frances, were living with Ethel’s father in a rental. By April 1930 the family owned a $3,300 house (about $52,000 in 2022 dollars) in Texarkana, the county seat with a population of 16,602 plus 10,764 in its twin city in Arkansas across the Red River.
Young Mr. Thomas enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 19, 1939. He was a coxswain and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
There is a cenotaph in his memory at the cemetery in Redwater, Texas 10 miles west of Texarkana. He shares the marker with a brother, Lynn, who died July 4, 1935 at age 11.
Sources: Census; Navy muster roll; cenotaph.