Falmouth mourns high school student who was 'just something special'

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FALMOUTH — Friends and teachers filled the Falmouth High School theater Tuesday
night to share their memories, to grieve together and to comfort
each other after the death Sunday of 16-year-old Clayton Thomas.

Thomas died June 28 from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning at a family cabin in Utah, a day after attending his sister’s wedding.

Those who knew him said Thomas was one of those people who gave teenagers a good name, a golden boy whose character and actions inspired superlatives, while his manner reflected humility.

“You could spill your life story to him knowing he would never tell another person,” classmate Katy Vogt said Tuesday. “He built this relationship with all of us; created relationships so unique, so genuine. When you were talking to him it felt like you were the only person in the room.”

Though Thomas and his family lived in Falmouth for only a few years, he had carved a deep spot in the hearts and lives of many students and teachers at Falmouth High School, where he would have been a senior in the fall.

Thomas was an Eagle Scout, and was involved in many activities in his church and at school. He was a member of the school soccer and track teams. He also enjoyed wake-boarding and snowboarding, according to an obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune. His musical talents included singing and playing both piano and drums.

Falmouth Theatre Company director Dede Waite said Thomas was a star on and off the stage as part of the close-knit ensemble.

“He was as kind as anyone I’ve ever known; funny, hugely talented, honest, with humility that was just unreal,” Waite said. “He had a smile that would break your heart all the time – a wonderful friend, a remarkable young man. He just was something special.”

During his time with the theater group, Thomas appeared in several plays and musicals, including “The Music Man,” “Pirates of Penzance,” “Anything Goes” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”

In this year’s one-act play festival, he worked on the set crew. Fellow student and actor Jack Coster recalled Thomas’ knack for bringing humor to a scary situation. During their performance at Cony High School, Thomas was moving a flat when a bar fell and hit him on the head. Coster picked him up and rushed him to the bathroom as blood streamed from the gash.

“I was asking if he could see me and he had a smile on his face the entire time,” Coster said. “He said ‘it’s a cool battle scar’ and said how tough he would look with blood in his hair.”

At the next level of competition in Bangor, Thomas made the ensemble laugh when he showed up wearing a bicycle helmet.

“He loved it; he thought it was so funny – we were all scared out of our minds,” Coster said. “It really embodied how he was all the time.”

In an e-mail to parents Tuesday, high school Principal  Allyn Hutton said counseling and support are available for students and families with the high school social worker, Sarah Maloney. Thomas’ siblings have all attended Falmouth schools. His sister, Whitney, graduated from Falmouth High School in 2006, his brother Dallin graduated this spring, and brothers Tanner and Aaron are entering ninth and fifth grades, respectively.

According to Hutton’s e-mail, parents Jeffry and Nancy Thomas plan to hold a memorial service sometime within the next two weeks. Thomas’ funeral is scheduled for July 2, in Utah.

“It’s amazing to see the love that’s pouring in now,” Vogt said. “Of all the people I’ve ever known, if I could even be a sixteenth of what he Clayton Thomas was, I’d be satisfied. He was one of those role models you wanted to emulate; he was striking.”

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.

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n-falclaytonthomas-070209.jpgFalmouth teenager Clayton Thomas died June 28 in Utah.