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Biography
T. Buckingham Thomas physics Oberlin WOBC Richwood Tom Thomas Chyron Infinit Pittsburgh

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My full name is Thomas Buckingham Thomas.

As a child, I was known as “Tommy Thomas.”  In junior high school, I became “Tom Thomas.”  My e-mail address starts with T2 because my co-workers sometimes call me “T-squared.”

But for this website, I have become “T. Buckingham Thomas,” the (deservedly) obscure author.

My name comes from both of my parents, seen here in 1972.

Vernon Morton Thomas, born 1909, was one of several sons of H.F. (Hubert Foster) and Lydia Thomas of Livermore, Kentucky.

Anna Margaret Buckingham, born 1913, was  the only daughter of Harry and Emma Buckingham of rural Noble County, Ohio.

The Thomas boys in front of a Kentucky county courthouse in 1932.  Left to right:  my father Vernon, my uncles Hubert, Chester, Phillip (kneeling), and Fred, and my grandfather H.F.

By 1939, the Buckinghams were living in Cambridge, Ohio, and Ann was a telephone operator.  Vernon had moved to Cambridge the year before to become the sales manager for Charles H. Sipe Chevrolet.  He roomed for a while with the Buckinghams.

Vernon and Ann were married in October 1940.  Not long afterward, he went off to World War II, serving in Assam, India.  After he returned, I was born on February 20, 1947, their only child.

We moved to Newark, Ohio, and then to Richwood, Ohio, in 1952.  My father started his own dealership (Vernon M. Thomas Chevrolet-Oldsmobile), and I started kindergarten.

Richwood, Ohio, undated (I'm guessing June 1953)

Traditionally, an auto dealer's son works for him and eventually succeeds him.  My dad hired me to do some janitorial and office work, but I never really wanted to be the boss.  A businessman has to deal with customers; I was a bookish introvert and didn't relish being involved that much with the public.  When he began thinking about retirement, my father asked whether I wanted the dealership.  I didn't, so he found a buyer, Garold Mills from Springfield, Ohio.  Mills Chevrolet continued into the 21st century; operated by the second generation of the Mills family, it was the last new-car franchise remaining in Richwood when it closed in 2008.

With interests in science, music, and broadcasting, I graduated from Richwood High School in 1965 and went to Oberlin College in northern Ohio.  I was a physics major, but I found that I enjoyed myself less in the physics lab than I did at the student radio station, WOBC.  So when it came time for graduate school, I went to Syracuse University and got a master's degree in radio and TV in 1970.

For four years, I was the program director at Marion CATV in Marion, Ohio, which was a small local-origination cable TV operation just 15 miles from Richwood.  I could live at home with my parents.  But with only 8,000 subscribers, Marion CATV couldn't sell enough advertising to support its shows, such as Cable Bingo.  (Well, we could sell ads, but we could charge only a few dollars for them.)

So I left home for Pennsylvania in 1974, taking a similar position at Washington Channels in Washington, PA.  That cable system was not any larger than Marion's, but they didn't give up on the idea until six years had passed.

In 1980 I found a cable system three times as big in New Kensington, PA, and moved to a small town across the Allegheny River called Brackenridge.  (I'm still there.)

TV3 in New Kensington was operated by Total Communications Systems, which also produced a weekly syndicated show of Penn State football highlights and was building a remote production truck for that purpose.  By 1982, I was working in that truck, operating the Chyron character generator.  My local cable work was phased out, and I started traveling.  Eventually I'd go as far as London, Honolulu, Seoul, and Tokyo, including three Olympics.

TCS went bankrupt in 1987, but this time I didn't have to find another position because I had started free-lancing as a Chyron operator.  That's still what I do today, using the Chyron Infinit! and Duet.

Most of my work is for sports telecasts in Pittsburgh (Pirates, Penguins, Pitt Panthers).  From 1987 through 1993 I traveled with the Pirates, and after that I spent a lot of time on the road for Fox Sports Net national telecasts of baseball and Conference USA college football.  There were many occasions when I took four flights in a week.  But those Fox packages were discontinued in 2001.  In the year and a half following September 11, I made only  five trips by air, which is fine with me.  I've made no trips by air since 2007.  By now I've seen most of the country, and it's good to work closer to home.

My mother died in 1982 and my father in 1999, so I no longer have an "immediate family."  I never really wanted children.
 
I was always a "little man," never really a child.  (This is me in kindergarten, at the age of six.  I'm the one in the suit and tie.  Another picture shows me apparently interviewing Old King Cole.)

As an only child several years younger than most of my cousins, I was not around children very much when I was young.  I disliked childish behavior, even in myself; I felt that I ought to act like the grownups.  Somewhat introverted, I could entertain myself.

And that's the way I remain today, single, living by myself and preferring it that way, thank you.

But I will allow you a glimpse of my life through this website!