After working to survive the Great Depression, Cec Thomas, became a captain of industry.and through a lifetime of sacrifice grafted a wonderful life.
The 89-year-old Wongaburra Garden Settlement resident was born on February 11, 1929 on the cusp of the nearly decade-long Great Depression.
In those early years he learned what it was like to go without and the value of hard work.
“You came home from school and there was one crust in the bread box, and it was as hard as the floor but you loved it,” Mr Thomas said.
As an eight-year-old he would polish door knobs and dry clothes to make ends meat.
Upon leaving school in grade six, he took on his first real job as page boy at the Lennons Hotel on George Street in Brisbane where he worked for 18 months during World War II.
Through the most challenging of times Mr Thomas never shirked honest work, a quality his single mother instilled in him.
“Without mum we wouldn’t be here,” Mr Thomas said.
“I would go with mum and work just to get something to eat.
“She would wash the clothes and I would wring them in the mangle.
“She also worked in three canteens.
“She was a very big influence – she was a worker and I’m a worker.”
Another pillar in the life of this local legend is his loving wife of 69 years Mary Joan Thomas.
“She’s not just a brick, she’s the whole house,” Mr Thomas said when asked what his wife meant to him.
After marrying in 1949 at Brisbane’s St John’s Cathedral, they brought five children into the world, Gregory, Philip, Brad, Debbie and Glen.
As well as his family, Mr Thomas fondly remembers the many friends with whom he shared laughs with over the years.
In his younger days, he most enjoyed fishing with his best mate Bunny.
These days his passions are watching sport on the television and of course, the love of his life, Mary.
Mr Thomas once owned C M Concrete Proprietary Limited which had a factory located in Beaudesert for 19 years.
The long-term businessman says the decision to set up a site at Beaudesert was based on the bright economic prospects of the area at the time.
“I still reckon Beaudesert has a marvellous future, especially when the train comes.
“Those politicians are putting the money in their pockets,” he laughed.
The straight-talking retiree long ago handed that venture over to his sons who sold it recently but if he had his way he’d still be getting up and going to work every day.
“I’d love to go back to work,” he said.
“I love the concrete industry.
“I always seemed to be my own boss.”
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