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Friends mourn attorney: 'Bulldog about the law,' but 'loving and generous'

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Friends and family are mourning the loss of Columbus attorney Michael Thomasson, 67, who died in a two-vehicle accident early Thursday evening south of Hope.

Thomasson was a practicing attorney in Columbus for more than 40 years. He was the founding partner at Thomasson, Thomasson, Long & Guthrie, located at 50 Washington St., established in 1996.

Thomasson originally set out to be a doctor, but his brother Dan said Friday that he thought chemistry got in the way. Instead, Thomasson graduated at the top of his class from the Indiana University School of Law in 1970.

“He was my rock,” Debbie Wright-Thomasson, his wife of 10 years, said Friday evening. Their family includes six children and six grandchildren.

“He was set to retire in two weeks,” she said.

Wright-Thomasson recalled the wealth of movie trivia her husband could recite.

“He could tell you the actors, who they were married to, and which got what awards,” Wright-Thomasson said. “I often teased him, calling him Rain Man. The facts and figures he had committed to memory was astounding.”

Attorney Shari Long, who worked with Thomasson off and on since 1993, said he also possessed a wealth of legal knowledge and was the one colleagues went to when they had a question. Thomasson was the kind of man who always had a story, a laugh, and “something to share every minute of the day,” Long said.

“Mike had the reputation of being an absolute bulldog about the law,” Long said. “But beneath that veneer, he was loving and generous. He was a real one-of-a-kind; there’s no other way to sum it up.”

Columbus attorney Dick Marshall worked with Thomasson since the 1970s, and describes his friend as a passionate lawyer who was an advocate for his clients and justice in general.

“The local bar (association), like any other group, certainly had its unusual characters,” Marshall said in an email Friday. “And Mike had earned an Oscar role as one of them.”

The youngest of four children, Thomasson loved baseball and history, as well as being a movie buff. Friends and colleagues describe him as a family man who loved children and worked tirelessly to seek justice for his clients.

“He had a real sense of outrage,” Dan Thomasson, 78, who lives in Washington, D.C., said of his brother. “I think it runs in our family. If anybody came to him with a problem, he was right on top of it.”

Commuting from his home in Southern Pines, N.C., periodically, Thomasson had been staying in Shelbyville.

The attorney’s Buick collided with a black Ford pickup driven by Levi Deckard, 23, of Columbus, around 6:27 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of State Road 9 and County Road 450N. According to emergency workers, Deckard was alert and walking when they arrived and was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital where he was treated and released. However, Thomasson died of blunt force trauma as the result of a collision, which is still under investigation.

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