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Thom was born May 28, 1933, in Gosport, Indiana, the son of two physicians. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953-56 and had a tour of duty in Korea. He graduated with a B.A. in 1960 from Butler University. From 1964-1967 he was the business editor for the Indianapolis Star. He served as senior editor for the Saturday Evening Post in 1971, and since 1973 has been a free-lance writer. From 1977-1981 he lectured at Indiana University. Thom's work includes Let the Sun Shine In (inspirational essays), 1976; From Sea to Shining Sea, 1984; The Spirit of the Place: Indiana Hill Country, photographs by Darryl L. Jones, 1995; and The Red Heart, 1997.