J.W. Thomé was born the 9th October 1930 in Estrela, Edo. Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil as son of German immigrants. He received his education in Porte Alegre and later continued his studies at the Zoological Institute, University of Münster, Germany with Prof. Bernhard Rensch. After returning to Brazil, he took his doctoral degree at the Pontificia Universidade Católica (PUC) in Porto Alegre.
He was a renown specialist in the slug family Veronicellidae, and many students and a number of doctoral fellows studied with him after he became a Professor of Zoology at PUC. He was director of the natural history museum in Porto Alegre, and served in many public functions (a.o. for the Brazilian Societies of Malacology and of Zoology).
He passed away on the 29 June 2016.
Engels, W., 2016. In memoriam José Willibaldo Thomé (9 October 1930-29 June 2016). – Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 51: 242–243.