News December  5, 2023

Funeral Services Set Friday for Bill Thomas, Owner of Rocket's Magic

Funeral services will be conduced Friday n New Iberia, Louisiana for Bill Thomas.

© Courtesy Delta Downs

NEW IBERIA, LA—FEBRUARY 22, 2017—Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday (Feb. 24) at Pellerin Funeral Home in New Iberia, Louisiana for Bill J. Thomas, 85, who passed away on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, in New Iberia. Thomas is was the owner of American Quarter Horse Rocket's Magic who raced to fame in 1975.

Deacon Theo Landry will officiate the services with entombment to follow, with military honors by the Iberia Honor Guard, in Holy Family Cemetery.

A gathering of family and friends will be Thursday from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM at Pellerin Funeral Home. A rosary, led by the Men's Rosary Group, will be prayed at 7:00 PM Thursday. Visitation will continue on Friday from 8:00 AM until 10:00 AM.

A native of Waldron, Arkansas, Bill was born on November 21, 1931 to the late O.S. and Abigail Olivier Thomas. He was raised in Fort Smith and moved to Louisiana after serving our country in the U.S. Navy. Bill's love of dancing led him to become a dance instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios, where he met the love of his life, Lena.

He traveled from Lafayette to Puerto Rico to teach and manage a studio for Arthur Murray. Bill then returned to the United States to work for LeBlanc and Broussard Ford City. He then began working and was part owner, with his father-in-law at Evans Poultry.

The 1975 Old South QH Futurity winner's circle at Delta Downs with owner Bill Thomas, trainer Lloyd Romero and jockey Randy Romero.  © Courtesy Speedhorse Magazine
It was there that Bill's father-in-law introduced him to horse racing. His success in horse racing received recognition when his quarter horse named "Rockets Magic" was inducted into the very first Quarter Horse Breeders Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

Rocket's Magic was certainly a magical racehorse who won the Old South Futurity and the FQHA Futurity, before running third in the 1975 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. He retired with a record of six wins from seven starts and earnings of $117,075, He continued his excellence in the breeding shed with 21 crops who earned $3.8 million.

Bill loved spending time with his family and close friends Bud Caslteberry and Bob Viguet.He also loved going hunting with other close friends in Gillette, Arkansas and Nebraska. Bill enjoyed spending time in his orchard and trawling for shrimp in Vermilion Bay.

Survivors include his loving wife of 59 years, Lena Abshire Thomas of New Iberia; children, Michael Thomas and wife Gaywynn of New Iberia, Barron Thomas and wife Brenda of New Iberia, Myra Thomas LeBlanc and husband Terry of New Iberia; grandchildren, Shawn Thomas Jefferson, Lana Thomas Bodin, Shannon LeBlanc, Tera LeBlanc Madere, Scott Thomas, Raven Martin Judice, Cody Thomas, Nikolos LeBlanc, Amber Martin; great grandchildren, Taylor Thomas, Braylan Judice, Jackson LeBlanc, Kamryn Jefferson, Ellie LeBlanc, Brylan Judice, Tayden LeBlanc, Benjamin Madere, Axel Jefferson, and Ella Claire Madere.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters, Willa Mae Arnette, Bobbi Harper; brother, Billie Dean Thomas; brothers-in-law, Richard Arnette, Jack Harper; and father-in-law and mother-in-law, Evans and Nervy Abshire.

Pallbearers will be Michael Thomas, Cody Thomas, Barron Thomas, Shannon LeBlanc, Scott Thomas, Nikolos LeBlanc, and Terry LeBlanc. Honorary pallbearers include Matthew Madere, Andre Bodin, Sean Jefferson, and all of his great grandchildren.

The family would like to give special thanks to the staff of Heart of Hospice and "First Name Basis". Pellerin Funeral Home in New Iberia is in charge of arrangements.

Courtesy Ses