Willie Thomas | For the turnstiles | tc321
Willie “Big Bo” Thomas began playing the tenor saxophone, taking private lessons from a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. He attended Booker T. Washington High School but joined the Army when he was in 11th grade. During World War II, he served in the Army in the Netherlands, where he played on a post band, as well as on and off bases in the South Pacific and the Philippines.. He served in WWII in the US Army band. After the war, he formed a big band in Dallas. He also worked as a promoter and club owner – he had three clubs – before retiring from the music business in 1971. Mr. Thomas, 83, died Oct. 1, 2009 of natural causes at a Crestview Court nursing home in Cedar Hill.