SPRINGFIELD, MA-Garold Wesley Thumm, 96, a resident of Keystone Woods in Springfield, died peacefully at the Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow on Friday, May 18, of complications from a fall on April 18.
Garold was born to George Wesley and Myrtle Virginia (Jarrett) Thumm on September 22, 1915, at Pinch, WV, a village some ten miles up Elk River north of Charleston. In October 1919, the family moved to Highland County, VA, where George had been assigned to his first “charge” as a minister in the Methodist Episcopal (now United Methodist) Church. After a series of appointments in the West Virginia Conference, the family reached Ripley, WV, where Garold graduated from Ripley High School in 1931. Following a number of family moves, an assortment of jobs, and a year at Asbury College, he graduated from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) in 1940.
On August 7, 1941, Garold was drafted into the Army and after basic training in the Signal Corps was sent to the 4th Division. Following graduation from Officer Candidate’s School he served at several posts in the US and Panama, returned to the US, and was officially separated in February 1946. In March he entered the University of Pennsylvania as a graduate student in political science. After having completed course requirements for the Ph.D., he was appointed instructor. After two years he went to Europe for a year to work on his dissertation, then returned to the University of Pennsylvania to resume teaching.
Meanwhile the would-be scholar had been recruited by the 446th Strategic Research and Analysis Team, an army intelligence reserve unit at the University of Pennsylvania. The United States having become involved in a war in Korea, the now-reserve captain was recalled to active duty at the end of the first semester and assigned to duty in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army, Pentagon, where he remained for two years and then again returned to the University of Pennsylvania. This time he finished his dissertation and in 1954 was appointed assistant professor of political science. During his life in Philadelphia, he became deeply interested in choral music; he sang for some time with the Philadelphia Oratorio and with the First Presbyterian Church choirs.
In 1961 Professor Thumm left the University of Pennsylvania for an appointment as professor of government and chairman of the Division of the Social Sciences at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. He took two leaves of absence as visiting professor, first for two years (1966-1968) at the National War College, Washington, DC, and later a semester in 1985 as visiting professor at the Christian-Albrechts Universităt, Kiel, Germany, in 1985. He retired from Bates College in 1987. In Maine he became a mediocre gourmet cook, a fair bridge player, and a terrible golfer, but loved trying.
Garold always regretted that the courses of his life and theirs deprived him of closer association with his siblings and their families. He loved them none the less. He is survived by his brother Milford of Durham, NC, and his sisters Janice Woods of Keystone Woods in Springfield and Doris Shank of Elkview, WV. He was predeceased by his brother Byron of Fredonia, NY in 2005 and his sister Phyllis Cunningham of Elkview, WV, in 2011. Uncle Gary is survived by nephew Michael Thumm of Durham, NC; niece Suzanne Woods Kelley and her husband Doug of Monson; nephew David Woods and his wife Julie Brocklehurst Woods of Geneseo, NY; nephew James Shank and niece Linda Shank of Elkview, WV; nephew John Shank and his wife Vicky (Black) Shank of Elkview; nephew Steven Woods of Fredonia, NY; niece Mary Catherine (Cunningham) Russell and her husband Mark of Louisville, TN; niece Brenda Joyce “Joy” (Shank) Hill and her husband Jerry of Scott Depot, WV, and niece Ruth Ann (Cunningham) Holbrook, of Elkview, WV. He is survived by five grandnieces, six grandnephews, and four great-grandnieces.
Garold’s funeral will be Saturday, May 26, at 10:00 a.m. at First Church of Monson, 5 High Street in Monson, followed by a luncheon at The Steaming Tender in Palmer. Calling hours will be Friday, May 25, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Lombard Funeral Home, 3 Bridge Street in Monson. A memorial service will be held in Elkview, WV, on Monday, June 4, at the Jarrett Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will be in Rummel Cemetery in Elkview, WV, following the memorial service. Hafer Funeral Home is in charge of the West Virginia arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Church of Monson Eva Farr Organ Fund or to the American Parkinson Disease Association, Inc., 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305.