Athens Review, Athens, Texas


January 20, 2014

Tye is gone, but forever in our hearts

GUN BARREL CITY — I will admit it. In my business, I meet people I don't always have anything in common with. That's okay – that's what makes life interesting.

About 20 years ago, I met a young man named Tye Thomas. Tye, I believe was about 15,  a student at Mabank High School. I was much older than Tye. We don't have to say how much older.

My point is, I could carry on very adult conversations with this young man. We would have in-depth conversations about all kinds of topics.

We lost Tye this week at the very young age of 35. Some things just can't be explained.

At the time I met Tye, he was publishing a magazine called Cedar Creek Briefs. This was not a Texas Monthly or Time Magazine, but it was very impressive for a 15-year-old  to come up with this concept.

I was the Advertising Director at the Cedar Creek Pilot when I first laid eyes on Tye Thomas. The company printing his magazine was an advertiser in the Pilot. The owner showed me his magazine, and told me the young man who was 15-years-old  wrote the stories, sold the ads and collected the money. She put the magazine together, and did the printing. My exact words were “very bright young man.”

My friend told Tye about our conversation. A few days later, Tye showed up at the Cedar Creek Pilot to meet me. As I had heard about him, he had heard about me. He said he knew I had an extensive newspaper background. That started our 20-year connection. The two of us   shared almost nothing in common, other than we both loved newspapers. I have always said about Tye, “He is a very bright, intelligent young man.”

As the years passed Tye graduated from high school, went to college in Rhode Island, and moved back to  Cedar Creek Lake to start his political career.

Tye returned to Cedar Creek Lake to run for the Mayor of Gun Barrel City and start two newspapers.

Yes I said two. First it was Lakeview News in Gun Barrel City.  Later the same year, he started Henderson County News in Athens. 

I have been in the newspaper business a very long time. A start-up newspaper is very difficult. Especially when there are already two papers at Cedar Creek Lake. In Athens, Tye went into direct competition with a daily paper. He was in a no-win situation.

At that time in Tye's life he just didn't realize how hard it would be to compete in an already competitive market. It was his youth and the fact Tye wanted everything now. Not later, but now.

As Tye was trying to start his two papers, he also put his hat in the ring to become the youngest Mayor in Texas by becoming the Mayor of Gun Barrel City. Tye filed as a Republican to run for office. He became a rising star in the Republican party. 

The same year, he became the youngest delegate to the electoral college. He casted his vote for George W. Bush. There were national and state politicians who had big plans for Tye.

Tye and I at this point were not what one would consider great friends. I lived in Gun Barrel City when Tye asked me if I was going to vote for him for mayor. He was 20-years-old.

My response was, “Tye, I am the voting public. You try to convince me to vote for you.”

For whatever reason he didn't try to convince me. What he did do was write a letter to me, trying to convince me to vote for him.

The 3-page letter was very well-written. I have to admit I kept the letter, because I thought some day this young man was going to be the Governor of Texas. He had made that strong of an impression.

Letter or no letter, I chose not to vote for Tye. His opponent, Charlies Robinson, only garnished 33 percent of the vote. Tye became the youngest Mayor in Texas. In my opinion, Tye was doing too much, too soon. Very young for such responsibilities.

Tye's tenure of Mayor only lasted 54 weeks, but it was an interesting 54 weeks, if you worked for a newspaper. We never lacked for news, thanks to Tye. When I think about Tye today, I believe he also enjoyed the spotlight. As long as you are in the headlines, who cares if it is good news or bad news.

I have only seen Tye a few times since he resigned as Mayor of Gun Barrel City. I have been following him on Facebook. To my surprise, Tye Thomas, the staunch Republican, switched political parties.

I just had to know why he made that drastic move.  I sent him an e-mail  asking when the transformation from Republican to Democrat happened. His response: “I finally grew up.” 

I will leave the interpretation of that statement up to people who may have known Tye better than myself.

We didn't always agree with each other, but I respected who Tye had been, and who he could have become.  If success in life is truly being missed, and remembered long after you are gone, Tye definitely was successful.

But I can see why God would want you, because you truly were an angel on Earth.

Kathi Nailling is a Staff Writer with the Athens Daily Review.

Text Only
  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg 22 years – and they said it wouldn’t last

    I was a high school senior when I first entered the world of newspapers.
    I found my way to the The Dallas Times Herald after graduation, when a number of kids I went to school with were working part-time at the paper.
    It was summer, and I needed a job. I first applied for what was referred to as the night crew.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Roadblocks happen - find a way to power through them

    You ever had writer’s block? Everyone gets it once in a while, especially journalists.
    Charles Bukowski once said, “Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all.”
    People always ask “how do you come up with your ideas?” Those are easy when it comes to writing sports, finding the right way to make it intriguing at the start is when it can get interesting.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg The events of 2014 have set a brisk pace

    This will be my last column before the year 2014 reaches its midway point, and I’ve got to say it’s been a challenge to keep up with everything going on in the county.
    It always is, of course. Henderson County has almost 80,000 people, two major lakes,  and if I counted right, 18 incorporated cities and town. Athens, is a small city, but three major highways cut through it. It’s the seat of county government and the site of three district courts.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment