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
  • 4-12 Rich mug.jpg Meal time for kitties can be an adventure

    I believe God gave us housecats because we didn’t have enough to worry about. They are puzzling little puffs of fur that seem to be constantly developing new sets of peculiarities.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I've got my rib back!

    Much has changed since Jan. 19, 2008.
    Bruce Almighty, Man on the Moon, Major League – gone.
    Complete rooms decorated with sports memorabilia – gone.
    More than a dozen trips to catch baseball in Arlington – gone.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Exhausted, but happier than ever

    Wow, what a rush!
    I can not begin to explain the emotions I experienced on Monday, March 17 as Maylee Grace Wilson made her debut.
    Yes, there were tears.
    Yes, this “Iron Man” showed the emotion he hoped and prayed for.
    Over the two weeks I was home with Maylee and my wife Lacie, I experienced a plethora of emotions - emotions rather rare in my life.
    As expected, there was little sleep at the hospital. With the way Maylee acted her first night, I thought I might be able to catch a little shut-eye once we got home.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Music helps deal with life’s situations, good or bad

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
    With music, it can help us deal with tragic situations, help us deal with the loss of a loved one, make us want to dance, make us want to sing along to the words, or help us calm down after a long day of work.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg ‘Small town, USA’ has advantages, disadvantages

    Living in a small town can have its advantages and disadvantages. For me, personally, I love “Small Town USA.”
    Some disadvantages possibly are: if you do something out of character, everyone will know by tomorrow morning; everybody tends to be related, so watch what you say;  limited resources;  it's not easy to broaden your horizons; and driving more than 50  miles to the nearest mall.



    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg A habit in a society and in a home that should stop

    It was Tuesday that I was walking back to my car on the Walmart parking lot, when a business acquaintance of mine who comes to the Review office sometimes, stopped her car in front of me to say hello.
    I noticed her doing something that happens at almost any moment she is around, without the office surroundings.  She had a cigarette in her hand.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICH-USE THIS ONE.jpg TVCC Lady Cards add to school’s winning legacy

    When I came to work in Henderson County in 1991, the Trinity Valley Community College Cheerleaders had already picked up a couple of national titles. Coach Connie Russell had the team doing things few had ever seen cheerleading squads do. Russell retired after winning five times on the national stage.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Let’s all follow Tom’s lead

    My first-born child is here and there is a hero for her to admire already.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMNIST.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimation

    The bar owner was blunt. A couple of weeks ago, he announced that people of a certain persuasion would not be allowed into his establishment.
    To demonstrate his seriousness, he had head shots printed of those who are not welcome to make sure that his security team would deny them entry.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one

    The suit is damaged, it might not hold up this time.
    Like many men, I have hidden my emotions behind a suit of armor for years.
    Happy, sad, excited or mad – my external emotions were never displayed.
    In some ways that was a good thing, but in others...

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case