Deborah Mason, right, serves the court as coordinator for County Court At Law Judge F. Duncan Thomas, after having served in a
similar capacity for Thomas when he was the Hunt County District Attorney.
F. Duncan Thomas, judge of the Hunt County Court At Law No. 2 since it began in
2009, intends to lay down his gavel at the end of this year.
He did land a job with a lawyer in
Greenville and started working even before
he took the bar exam. He was licensed
in November 1976 and landed his first
prosecutor job, as an assistant county
attorney for Hunt County, starting on Jan.
1, 1978. He didn’t stay in the position for
He ran for district attorney in 1980 and
won, then kept on winning seven straight
times, holding the job for 28 years.
In 1986, Thomas became certified as
a Specialist in Criminal Law by the Texas
Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction
of which he is especially proud.
“Only about 1 percent of the lawyers in
Texas are certified in criminal law,” he said.
Thomas has been recertified every five
years since then.
Walker said Thomas has been a close
friend and a mentor, both on the job and
“Duncan was far and away the best boss
I ever worked for,” Walker said. “Not only
was he always available and an incredible
teacher at the office, but he would always
be the first to show up if you needed him
outside of work. I was working for Duncan
when Kelly and I got married and I came
into work one day and out of no-where he
gave me a socket set, some channel lock
pliers, and an assortment of household
tools. He then advised me that as a married
man I would be needing them. As fate
would have it, he was absolutely right and
with the exception of the half-inch socket, I
still have that whole set.”
G.W. Wofford began working with
Thomas when he became the first Hunt
County Attorney’s investigator in 1979.
When Thomas took over as district
attorney in 1981, Wofford went with him
and stayed until he retired in June 2006.
“Duncan always told everyone that he
fired me four times, but I just wouldn’t
leave,” Wofford said.
During his tenure as district attorney,
Thomas prosecuted hundreds of major
cases, ranging from drug possession to
Among his most memorable cases
was the trial of Adam Kelly Ward, who
in 2007 was convicted of capital murder
and sentenced to death by lethal injection
for the 2005 death of Commerce Code
Enforcement Officer Michael “Pee Wee”
Thomas was among the witnesses at
Ward’s execution in March 2016.
“That was something I had promised
to Dick Walker, Michael’s father,” Thomas
said. “I just felt that was something I had
But Thomas has been involved with
far more than the law, as he has been
active with the Greenville Rotary, Lions
and Optimist clubs and has served on the
boards of multiple organizations, including
26 Greenville Life SPRING 2020