GREENCASTLE -- "Darrel Thomas was a great man. He will be sadly missed," Thomas' son-in-law Mike Chadd began.
"Oh, wait! That is the wrong speech," Chadd continued amid laughter. "I guess I should call work and let them know I don't need those three days off after all."
Aside from Chadd, Thomas was roasted by those who knew him best Sunday during the Putnam County Museum's annual Roast-A-Relic at the 4-H Fairgrounds Community Building, where he felt right at home.
"I have spent an inordinate amount of my life this building," Thomas noted at one point in the afternoon.
Lauralee Baugh, the first to "dish" about Thomas, told stories about him going to the horse track with other extension educators, including Mark Merkel and Alan Ader. She also filled in for roaster Raymond McCloud with the "chicken story."
"I am known nationwide for the chicken story," commented Thomas during his rebuttal time.
It goes something like this: It was fair week. All poultry in the fair that year had to be tested for a specific disease. One 4-H mother took exception to the testing of her chickens and proceeded to become "enthusiastic," as Thomas put it.
As the scene unfolded below McCloud, who was on a utility pole outside the poultry barn, he couldn't believe what he saw next. The mother took one of the chickens and snapped its neck in front of Thomas, whose mouth fell to the ground. The mother then left the fairgrounds.
In her closing, Baugh said Thomas left her a legacy she was determined to continue.
"He may have received a paycheck from Purdue," said Chadd. "But when he needed lifesaving heart surgery, he chose an IU doctor."
Currently, Thomas serves as the president of the Putnam County Council and the Indiana Federation of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
He is a committee member for People Pathways and has been involved with Putnam County Ag Week breakfast since the beginning of time.
"It is only right Darrel be put in the museum," said Gary Emsweller, retired Purdue Extension educator from Hendricks County.
As many jokes were told and many laughs were had, Emsweller summed it up when he said, "It's all about the good times."
Others to roast Thomas included Dorothy Edwards, Mitch Proctor and Rick Parent, who also emceed the event. In addition, some of the audience members paid $5 to "roast" Thomas.
After his rebuttal time, Thomas closed with a heartfelt thanks to his wife for putting up with him for 41 years.
"As you have learned, there is a saint in my family -- my wife," he said. "Thank you, dear, and I love you."