Mark Thomas

April 27, 2024

For Immediate Release

The Clintonville Public School District is honored to announce this year’s recipient of the distinguished Alumnus Honoris award.  Mark Alan Thomas, class of 1959, has been selected to receive this high honor.  Mr. Thomas’s exceptional professional career and lifetime achievements in the community make him a very deserving recipient of this great honor. 

Mark Alan Thomas was born in Beaver Dam, WI on July 10, 1941, grew up in Clintonville, and proudly graduated from Clintonville High School in 1959. After graduating high school Mark attended Lawrence University, graduating in 1963 with a BA in economics. Mark continued his education at Dartmouth graduating in 1965 with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). 

Mark started his career with the Ford Motor Company as part of the Finance Staff at Ford’s world headquarters in Michigan. Soon Mark was selected to contribute to Ford Motor Company’s international team with his focus on projects in South America. This took him to Argentina where he lived for three years until the successful completion of the assigned international projects. 

Upon returning to Michigan Mark decided to make a career change and bid farewell to the Ford Motor Company. He ventured into real estate, joining the Weir, Manuel, Snyder & Ranke firm from 1969-1974. In 1974 Mark’s commitment and developed expertise propelled him to a partnership role which he held until his professional retirement in 2000. 

Mark’s impact extends far beyond his successful career with the Ford Motor Company and in real estate. His time at Ford fully exploded his interests into historical preservation and antique automobiles. Mark’s personal car collection includes a mission to acquire one example of each of the thirteen carmakers that produced a car in  the city of Pontiac, MI. He has an office in Pontiac where he shows some of his collected automobiles, art, hood ornaments, taxidermy, and collectibles. As an unconventional collector, he was featured in the Great Garages article, Mark Thomas, Preparing for Extinction (Mar. 9, 2009). Mark’s efforts to revitalize Pontiac, MI included donating an elementary school, adjoining grounds, and loaning some rare automobiles for the development of the Pontiac Transportation Museum. 

As a preservationist who appreciates historical stories and vehicles, Mark gravitated back to his roots in.

Clintonville. Here he teamed with Marcia Olen, granddaughter of Walter A. Olen, to dedicate himself to the FWD foundation and his growing passion to preserve the FWD legacy. His visionary leadership has now grown into the FWD Seagrave Museum and its increasing collection of 70+ historically significant vehicles. 

As the FWD Seagrave Museum has grown, it has become a prized destination that enriches our community for the visitors who arrive and spend time here. Just like Mark’s work in revitalizing Pontiac, MI, he continues to work at preserving our local stories and giving back to this community. 

Mark is the son of Dr. Lewis and Margaret Thomas. He married his wife, Pamela, in 1971. They have two sons, Morgan now living in Dallas and Graham living in Chicago. Both sons are enjoying their own successful careers and are happily married. Mark and Pam are now the proud grandparents to two granddaughters.