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Students in field

Next Celebration of Spirit focuses on deaf FBI investigator Sue Thomas

February 20, 2019

Each Sunday this semester Visiting Campus Pastor Father Corbin Eddy has hosted a special event at Campus of St. Matthew for students and employees interested in celebrating human spirituality. This week will focus on deaf FBI investigator Sue Thomas.

Sue Thomas Celebration of Spirit

  • Sunday, February 24, 2019
  • 7 p.m.
  • Chapel of St. Matthew

Sue Thomas was born on May 24, 1950 in Boardman, Ohio. She is an American woman who became the first deaf person to be employed as an active investigator with the FBI.

At the age of 18 months, she became profoundly deaf. The explanation of this phenomenon is not definitely known. At the age of seven, Thomas became the youngest Ohio State Champion free-style skater in skating history. Speech therapists helped her develop her voice, and she also became an expert lip reader.

As the only deaf child in her public school district, Thomas was misunderstood by her teachers. Although she sat in the front row so that she could see the lips of her teachers, much of what happened in the classroom was lost to her. In spite of her accomplishments as an athlete, she was often bullied in the hallways and on the playground of her school. In spite of her difficulties in, she graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs.

After months of job searching, Thomas learned that the FBI was looking for deaf people. Starting out as a fingerprint examiner, she became a lip-reader for an undercover surveillance team after Jack Hogan, an FBI agent, discovered her ability. Thomas spent four years working for the FBI, from 1979 to 1983.

In 1990, Thomas wrote her autobiography entitled Silent Night which became the basis for the TV series to follow. This book begins when she lost her hearing at 18 months and chronicles her life all the way through to her resignation from the FBI. The continuing story of her life is called Staying in the Race where Thomas shares stories about living with multiple sclerosis.

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