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Northwest Indiana








Seth Thomas saw beauty in abandoned buildings

Monday, October 9, 2006 12:29 AM CDT

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Through the lenses of his camera, Seth Thomas saw beauty, even in the interior and exterior structures of old, abandoned buildings.

"Next to working to get his degree in engineering, photography was my son's greatest passion," Steve Thomas said. "He loved to explore old buildings and even went as far as Detroit to find them. He took photos there of the Packard plant and the Motown building."

Thomas said his son also focused on photos of rural settings and landscape pictures of sites like Lake Michigan.

His son's recent collection of photo works reflected the gothic structure of the City Methodist Church, a Gary landmark and now an abandoned structure.

"My son was highly intelligent, a high achiever and really a gifted photographer," his father said.

Thomas said when his son was a young boy he set his sights on being an astronaut.

"Even then, he had high goals and always was diversified in his interests," his father said.

Susan Thomas said she was always proud of her son's talents and his high intellect.

"Seth was brilliant, and he loved pursuing his degree in engineering. He had a great career ahead of him," his mother said.

Thomas' mother said she hopes to place some of her son's works of photography into a coffee-table book that she hopes will be published.

"His photos were his own creations and were something to be seen and admired," she said.

Nicole Rork said she was introduced to Seth when he was doing his research into industrial sites and abandoned buildings.

"Over time, Seth became one of my close friends," Rork said. "Aside from being a dedicated urban explorer, he was an amazing photographer. He was extraordinary ... a brilliant young man whose life was taken too soon."

Still, Rork said she knew her friend died doing what he loved to do - taking photos.

Thomas, a Hobart High graduate, was currently attending Purdue Calumet University pursuing a degree in engineering.

He was employed at Hill Mechanical in Franklin Park, Ill.

Seth Thomas - Sept. 24, 1982 - Sept. 23, 2006.

Thomas, 23, of Hobart, died from injuries that were the result of an accident in Hobart.
A memorial celebration took place to celebrate his life Sept. 27 at the Hobart Elks Club. Contributions can still be made to the Main Source Bank in Hobart for a scholarship that's being established in Thomas' memory.