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Zella Marie Taber Thomas Endowment Fund

Year Founded
1992

Purpose of Fund
The primary purpose of the fund shall be: To provide a renewable source of funds to provide scholarships in honor of Zella Marie Taber Thomas, to encourage selected graduates of the South Putnam High School, Putnam County, Indiana, who are residents of Washington Township, Putnam County, Indiana, to attend a regionally accredited four-year college or university full time.

History of Fund

James D. Thomas, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus from West Virginia State College entered Purdue University in 1943, spent 21 months in the U.S. Coast Guard assigned to carrying diesel fuel and airplane gasoline in the Philippines.

Subsequent to receiving his B.S. degree in Agriculture Education, Thomas devoted 39 ½ years to the fields of Education as a High School Teacher, Principal of a 1-12 school, Lake County Supervisor of High Schools, instructor at Purdue University, State Coordinator of Pre-service Education, Director of Teacher Education for West Virginia, Chair of Education Dept, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Assistant to the President. Always involved with youth—4-H Club, FFA, teaching, church work, club sponsor and student adviser—has kept me involved with youth and the community.

After suggesting that the Reelsville Alumni should establish a scholarship for a Washington Township graduate of South Putnam High School, I was placed on the committee and served as chairperson and treasurer until there was about $20,000 in the fund. It now has approximately $49,000. All profits from a book I had compiled, entitled Daily Thoughts and Golden Gems, were donated to the Alumni Scholarship Fund.

In 1992, I decided to establish a scholarship in honor of my wife on the 50th anniversary of our graduation. Eight scholarships varying from $250 to $800 have been awarded. Since we were in agreement with the idea and purposes of the Foundation, we became Life Members before we moved back to Indiana. In addition to numerous contributions, I have served on the Allocations Committee.

Recently the Purdue School of Education presented me a plaque for Community Achievement (Service to Community through Sustained Commitment to Education and an Indomitable Volunteer Spirit (8 people were recognized). On the next day, the Purdue Alumni Association recognized me with a “Citizenship Award” in recognition of Unselfish Dedication of Service Beneficial to your community and Fellow Citizens (3 were recognized).

By James D. Thomas (2004)

Scholarship Recipients

2017

Johnathan Thibodeau

2016

Julianna Delano

2015

Morgan Aker

2014

Aubrey Nichols

2013
John David Briones

2012
Jenna Geier

2011
Robbie Urton

2010
Wesley McKinney

2009
Melissa Miles

2008
Whitney Warren

2007
Caitlynn McKinney

2006
Steven M. McKinney

2005
Anna R. Wilson


2004
Kraig Sanders

2003
Danny Selby

2002
Nathaniel T. Aker

2001
Jamie Bla

2000
Amanda Janeway
Shanley Latham

1999
None

1998
Robert Danhour

1997
Gena Summers

1996
Casey Carter

1995
Elizabeth Cheatham

1994
Emily Chew

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