Thomas, Chris

February 22, 2004

On February 18, 2004, CHRIS THOMAS, 55, of Tampa, FL, died at the University Community Hospital. He was born in Passaic, NJ and eventually made Tampa his home. Now Chris Thomas, born Christian Thomas Olrick, legendary Tampa Bay Area sportscaster and radio is leaving legions of loved ones and fans to pursue life's meaning without him. He was a beloved husband and father. He made his career as a popular radio personality at WDAE-AM 620 and former sportscaster at WFLA-TV. He is survived by his wife Kathryn Elizabeth Bonfield, daughter Kaitlyn Elizabeth Bonfield Olrick, daughter Shawna Leigh Olrick, son Jeffrey Thomas Olrick, daughter-in-law Amy Loch Olrick and grandson Joshua Thomas Olrick. He is the son of Christian Thomas Olrick, Sr. and the late Ivy Ostrander Olrick and the stepson of Joan and Joy Ann Olrick, of Elmwood Park, NJ. He is also survived by his sisters Wendy Smith, of Hackettsville, NJ and Joy Ann Olrick, of Elmwood Park, NJ. His accomplishments date back to 1969, when he began his career in radio broadcasting. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1970 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. He worked in South Carolina, at WBOC-TV, in Salisbury, MD and then at WBAL-TV, in Baltimore, MD where he took top honors as the area's Sportscaster of the Year. In 1988, he moved to Tampa Bay, beginning a 16 year radio and television career. He worked as a sportscaster at WFLA-TV from 1988 to 2002. He was best known recently for his number one rated sports talk radio show on WDAE-AM 620. His passions extended well beyond the studio and microphone. He loved to engage in the great conversation, willingly discussing anything from politics to ponies. He devoted much of his energy to his favorite pastime of Horseracing. He not only owned horses, but also reported on them, winning the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's 1989 Eclipse Award, which is one of the highest honors in Horseracing. He talked, we listened. He joked, we laughed. He taught, we learned. Sadly, it is impossible to reduce such a rich, full and inspiring life into a single snapshot. Please join in a Celebration of Life in Chris' memory. Visitation will be held at Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 605 S. Mac Dill Avenue, Tampa, FL 33609, on Sunday, February 22, from 1 until 4 P.M. A Funeral Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 515 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33603, Monday, February 23, at 10 A.M. The family extends an invitation to Chris' friends, family and fans. A privated graveside service for the family will follow the funeral service. CHRIS THOMAS MEMORIAL TRUST FUND, Chris' greatest love, of course, was his family. In his memory, a trust fund has been set up to benefit his youngest daughter, 7-year old Kaitlyn. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Chris Thomas Memorial Fund. Donations can be mailed to WDAE-AM, 4002 Gandy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33611. Contributions can also be made to the American Cancer Society. BLOUNT & CURRY FUNERAL HOME, 605 S. Mac Dill Avenue, Tampa, FL 33609. (813) 876-2421.

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