An award-winning narrator and World War II veteran, Dr. Peter Thomas is a familiar name in the broadcasting world. A Naples resident since 1966, Thomas has devoted much of his time to military and veteran efforts, especially at Hodges University. To honor his work in supporting military veterans, Hodges University renamed its veterans center to the Dr. Peter Thomas Veterans Services Center in 2014.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Thomas was the son of a Welsh Presbyterian minister and English schoolteacher. With instruction from his parents, he learned how to effectively use his voice, often practicing his enunciation and voice projection, which would aid him in his future career as a narrator and television anchor. As a young teenager, the skills he had mastered in speaking and narrating led him to accept his first radio job. In 1943, after graduating from high school, he joined the United States Army and served with the First Infantry Division in five European campaigns. Fighting in the Battle of Normandy, he was one of 28 replacements sent to Omaha Beach on D-Day plus one. He also fought in The Battle of the Bulge. Thomas received numerous awards for his service, including five battle stars, one for each campaign, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Unit French Croix de Guerre and the Belgian Fourragère.
After the war, he married Stella Barrineau and raised three children. Thomas spent 13 years as a news anchor for CBS before leaving to pursue full-time freelance documentary and narration work. In 1966, after traveling through the area, they moved to Naples and bought a house. Thomas continued his narrative work, and has provided voice-over work for numerous television commercials and programs, documentaries and sports networks such as ESPN. He even provided the voice for the Philips HeartStart automated external defibrillator (AED).
Thomas’ passion for those serving in the military never ceased, and in 2004, Hodges named him its Humanitarian of the Year. In that same year, they made him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Although Peter passed away in April 2016, his legacy lives on in the Peter and Stella Thomas Scholarship, which provides financial support to military veterans pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree to achieve career goals.
Dr. Peter Thomas
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