Thomas Bywaters was born on June 17, 1953, in Claremore, Oklahoma to Ida Mae Bywaters and Joe K. Bywaters. After losing both his mother and father at a young age, Thomas was raised by his sister, Sandra. Thomas attended Claremore High School. Home of the Zebras, where he nurtured his football skills and passion for the sport.
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After graduating from high school, Thomas attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College where he earned an Associate in Arts in 1973. In 1973, he moved to Las Vegas where he attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) to continue his education and play football. Thomas had the pleasure of being coached by his brother Clayton Bywaters while an athlete at UNLV. He developed a brotherhood with his football team who ended up winning a championship during his time at UNLV. In 1978, Thomas earned the Bachelor of Science in Education from UNLV.
It was at UNLV that Thomas met his wife Beverly Grayson Bywaters. They were married in 1983.
Right after college, Thomas started his teaching career in Panaca, NV and then relocated to Pahrump. Thomas' long teaching career with the Clark County School District started at Basic High School and continued and ended at Rancho High School. Thomas taught for over 26 years at Rancho High School. At Rancho, Thomas, better known as Coach Bywaters, had the tremendous and fulfilling job of coaching football and soccer. He truly loved his students and athletes. You could often find Coach Bywaters ensuring that his students had turkeys to take home to celebrate with their families. Students were impacted by Coach Bywaters' love for life, wisdom, and motivation. His classroom was always filled with students who needed a place for calm and serenity. Coach Bywaters was the advisor for the Black Student Union and known to go all out for is students.
Thomas Bywaters was a member of Victory Missionary Baptist Church and active in the Children's Ministry. He really enjoyed sharing his teaching skills to young people and teaching about Christ. He was also influential in reorganizing the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators in 2010. As a member, he supported the mission to ensure that Black children received a quality education.
Thomas was a family man and absolutely loved his family. His first born son, Darrin Robertson lived in Las Vegas for a short time and eventually moved back with his mother. Thomas and Beverly could often be found on the soccer field supporting their children, usually running back and forth from field to field to support each one. There was no bigger fan than Thomas. He loved to watch his children participate in sports and often coached from the sidelines.
In 2015, Thomas reconnected with his son Darrin, and the family was complete. There are no words to express the gratitude and excitement felt.
Thomas represents all that the community needs. He valued service and giving back. He loved life and always believed that nothing was impossible. You could count on Coach Bywaters to let you know, "If you think negative, then negative will happen." His motivational speeches and encouragement will be missed.
On Monday, September 14, 2020 Thomas went home to be with the Lord. Proceeding him in death were his parents, Ida Mae Bywaters and Joe K. Bywaters, and his brothers and sisters; Corine Simon, Daniel Bywaters, Mary Bywaters, Clayton Bywaters, and Myrna Jackson.
Thomas Bywaters leaves to cherish his memory, his wife, Beverly Grayson Bywaters, three sons; Darrin Robertson, Omar Bywaters and Jelani Bywaters, two daughters; Kamilah Bywaters and Zakiya Bywaters, one sister; Sandra (Leroy) Johnson, three brothers; Joe (Kathy) Bywaters, William Ray Bywaters and John E. (Teresa) Bywaterss; 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Thomas Bywaters will always be in our hearts, guiding and showing us the way.