Blog

George E. Thomas: Presidential valet to JFK

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, May 11, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

George Thomas-613318-edited-043520-edited.jpg

JOHN F. KENNEDY'S PRESIDENTIAL VALET, GEORGE E. THOMAS, WITH JOHN F. KENNEDY JR.

Arthur Prettyman will forever be known in American history as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “most famous” valet, perhaps because he was at FDR’s side when the president suffered his fatal cerebral hemorrhage in 1945. But Prettyman was not the only presidential valet to be near at hand when his Chief Executive boss died in office. Not so many years after Roosevelt’s passing, presidential valet George E. Thomas was one of the last people to speak to President John F. Kennedy before he was assassinated.

jfk-jr-teething-ring-kennedy

STERLING SILVER TEETHING RING - JOHN F. KENNEDY JR. - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

It was November 22, 1963. President Kennedy was scheduled to visit Dallas, following an earlier appearance. His valet, George Thomas, had joined him for the trip. As Air Force One rolled to a stop at the Dallas airport, JFK and Thomas were standing in the tail of the plane looking out at the enormous crowd that had gathered. Well aware that his valet had grown up in the tiny town of Berryville Virginia, Kennedy laughingly observed, “You know, George, I think this is a bigger town than you come from.”

jfk kennedy flag

THE OFFICIAL FLAG THAT FLEW OVER THE WHITE HOUSE WHEN JFK WAS ASSASSINATED ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963 - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE PRESIDENTIAL RELICS HERE

That joke was their last conversation, but it wasn’t George Thomas’ last act as presidential valet. JFK’s long-time friend and aide, Dave Powers, was given responsibility for choosing the president’s funeral clothing. He sought help from Thomas, who narrowed the choices down to eight suits with all the necessary accessories as well as four pairs of shoes.

The shirt Powers selected was monogrammed. However, George Thomas reminded Powers that Kennedy had a special dislike of flashy monograms, so the suit was arranged to conceal the initials. And then Thomas performed his last personal act for President Kennedy, folding JFK’s handkerchief and slipping it into the jacket pocket just as the President always had – with the monogram covered.

john-f-kennedy-shaving-kit-jfk.jpg

IMPRESSIVE WWII GOLD MONOGRAMMED SHAVING SET BELONGING TO NAVY LIEUTENANT JOHN F. KENNEDY - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

An experienced valet, Thomas began serving Jack Kennedy in 1947, when JFK was first elected to the US Congress. Thomas was recommended for the position by Arthur Krock a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who was close to the Kennedy clan. When Kennedy became President, George Thomas moved into the White House to continue serving the man who had become his friend.

JFK-In-Limo-Close-Up kennedy

JOHN F. KENNEDY IN DALLAS BEFORE HE WAS ASSASSINATED. TWO SECTIONS OF THE REAR LEATHER SEAT FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE THAT JFK WAS RIDING IN ARE PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

George Thomas continued to live in Washington after Kennedy’s passing. He served as a confidential aide to various chairmen of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 1965 until he retired in 1978. Two years later, he passed away from a heart ailment.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for nearly 40 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China, John F. Kennedy

Contact Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Online

Sign up for Monthly Newsletters