ABBA Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee


J. Carter Thomas

J. Carter Thomas will be inducted into the American Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA) Hall of Fame during the ABBA Membership Meeting March 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. The association president J. D. “Bubba” Sartwelle, Jr. will be giving the presentation, and the inductee’s daughter Margaret Thomas and family will be receiving the etched plaque on his behalf.

J. Carter Thomas was born on June 19, 1913 in Rutherton, North Carolina. He met the love of his life, Anne Louise Friar, in Washington D.C., and they were married November 12, 1938. During their time on the East Coast, the couple had one daughter, Margaret Anne (Missi) whom they brought back to Cuero, Texas in the fall of 1939 to become part of the Friar Ranch legacy.

J. Carter and Anne’s father, Alfred Friar, joined in the cattle and dairy business in the mid-40s. The team purchased their first Bos indicus cattle, adding Manso bloodlines to their herd to develop more well-rounded, crossbred beef-type cattle.

J. Carter created a kind of commercial cattle he dubbed the “Milkmaster.” These cattle were 1/2 Brahman, 3/8 Brown Swiss and 1/8 Jersey. According to him, this cross had the longevity, disease resistance and hybrid vigor of the Brahman with the milking ability and meat producing qualities of the Swiss. The Jersey enhanced the milking ability as well as the fertility of the cow.

“The real purpose for these cattle is financial, the rest is just incidental… These are Texas cattle that can and will survive on open range anywhere,” J. Carter said during an interview for The Farm and Ranch Weekly.

J. Carter bred and showed purebred Brahman cattle at all Texas major livestock shows until his death in 1986.

A true testament to the functionality of his Brahman cattle operation, his multiple-time Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion (1972-1974), JCT TONY'S MONICA MANSO, produced nine calves naturally that were registered with the ABBA, all the way to 1988.

“At heart, he was a cow man. The COW, in all capital letters; the milk and the gentleness, that is what most people will remember about him,” Sartwelle said.

The Friar-Thomas Ranch is still operating under the direction of owner Missi and longtime ranch manager Joe Adams. Adams, of course, received much of his education on the cattle business straight from hall of fame breeder J. Carter Thomas.

One Sunday afternoon when he was 19, Adams recalled, Mr. Thomas asked Adams about what he would do after the summer ended. Adams said he would transfer to Sam Houston State to continue his schooling.

"I remember clearly to this day," Adams said. "He kind of looked at me funny and said, 'Let me get this straight. You're going to quit a ranch job to go to school to pay someone to teach you how to ranch, and they may not have ever ranched! Tell you what. I'll teach you the ranching business and won't charge you a (darn) thing. In fact, I'll give you $110 a week.' I reached out and shook his hand.”

That was more than 30 years ago, and Joe is proud to continue the ranching legacy today.

Adams said J. Carter bred for, “gentle, functional cattle.” He remarked specifically that disposition was very important to him and described going out every day for hours and feeding the calves. He would feed creep feed off of the bumper of his truck to be able to handle the calves, and with a curry comb in hand, he would start the gentling process. He would often come home to tell Mrs. Anne of his new pets.

“He really enjoyed and loved his Brahman cattle, and it showed,” Adams said.

In addition to being an innovative and talented cattleman, J. Carter and his wife Anne were known for their philanthropic work. They, along with Anne’s mother Anna Nagle Friar, Missi and her daughters, Debra Voekel Benge and Dinah Rae Voekel, worked together to help build the Friar Ag Center for future generations of 4-H, FFA, and FHA members in Cuero to enjoy and perpetuate.
“Anybody who knew them would tell you he and his wife were givers,” Sartwelle said.

Anne passed away in March of 2015, but the wonderful couple is survived by daughter Missi of Cuero; grandchildren, Debra Voelkel Benge of Denver, CO, Dinah Rae Voelkel, of Cuero; great-grandchildren, Candice Goldstein, Kathleen Benge, Rachel Benge, Avery Benge, all of Denver, CO.

“If you asked J. Carter if he deserved this honor, he’d say, ‘Nah,’” Adams said. “He admired the people in this business and would have been humbled by it. But in my way of thinking, having worked and grown up with him, I think he is very deserving. It gives his daughter Missi, myself, grandchildren and great grandchildren a lot of pleasure to see him recognized with this prestigious award.”

J. Carter Thomas será incluido en el Salón de la Fama de la Asociacion Americana de Criadores Brahman (ABBA) durante la reunión de miembros de ABBA 02 de marzo de 2016 en Houston, Texas. El Presidente de la Asociación J. D. "Bubba" Sartwelle, Jr. dará la presentación y la hija del incluido va a recibir la placa grabada en su nombre.