Joe Nathan Thomas, Sr.
April 11, 1950 – June 11, 2020
Joe Nathan Thomas, Sr. was born on April 11, 1950 to Henry King Thomas and Sarah Lawrence Thomas with his father’s eyes and his mother’s smile. Like his very name signifies, from the womb, he was “a gift from God” full of sweetness and mischief. He was a devoted son and a loyal, fun – loving and supportive brother. It was not easy in Beaumont, Texas; but, his childhood as baby brother of 8 (eventually nine) was filled with joy and decency. Joe shared with his doting mama, Sarah, an ebullient, friendly, kind personality and perfect comic timing. He was hilarious. He never met a stranger and he lit up every room he walked into and every soul he ever met. He was charming, handsome, charismatic, good – hearted, kind and generous. He was raised right and he lived right. He loved God and put family first.
Joe was a 1968 graduate of Hebert High School in Beaumont, TX and a fighting Panther all his life.
From his father, King, he inherited a beautiful prematurely greying beard, a diligence and seriousness when it came time to get down to business; a deep sense of pride in the value of hard work, skill and professionalism. He was a Journeyman electrician. He began his career in La Marque, Texas, near Beaumont in 1985, as an apprentice and quickly rose to Journeyman. He taught and mentored many others until his retirement in November 2019. His skill and affable personality took him all over the country. The combination of his sweet and fun-loving personality and his strong work ethic made him just the person you wanted on your team; the guy you wanted to show up when you just went through a storm and your power needed to be rebuilt from the ground up; when you needed hope. Big Joe T. from Texas, he was your man! He was a career-long member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Just like he loved his family, he loved the Brotherhood, those talented and gifted brothers who helped build and rebuild the country.
Joe T, Chickenbone, Bone, Joe Nathan, Big Joe wasn’t all work though. Oh no. He knew how to play, tease, cut a rug, joke – “have a funky good time”. He loved music (especially R&B) and sports and a night out on the town. He knew how to enjoy a game, a party, a family reunion, a class reunion, a backyard barbecue, a formal black-tie dance (man was he stylish). His great personality, and charm, his kindness helped him be blessed in love and life He found his beloved soulmate in Hope Lashley and God blessed them to extend the Thomas line with twins, Melissa Hope and Joe, Jr. He loved his family and had a deep spirituality rooted in his love of God and people. He was devoted to his Jersey girl and the twins – but the Dallas Cowboys were a close fourth!
Joe Nathan Thomas was quite a man, a gentleman, a bon vivant, a family man to the core and a comic genius. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and co – worker – but , he was somehow much more than all that. He was a friend, true blue, “ride or die”, life-long. His loving heart, dependability, warmth, charm, boundless capacity to forgive and reconcile people made him a giant to us, a hero. He made us better, all of us – Then suddenly, on Thursday, June 11, he was gone from this side of the veil of life. His passing leaves an unimaginable hole in our hearts. But his love, his wisdom lives on within us. We are grateful for his great life, God’s gift to us: Joe Nathan Thomas, Sr.
He leaves to cherish his memory “his sunshine on a cloudy day”, his wife of 28 ½ years Thelma Hope Lashley – Thomas, his darling daughter Melissa H. Thomas and son, Joe N. Thomas, Jr. and grandson, Jeremiah A. Thomas. Though pre-deceased by his parents Henry K. Thomas and Sarah L. Thomas; and brothers Matthew “BB” Thomas and David King Thomas; he leaves a strong and faith-filled line of sisters, Bernadine Stevenson, Pearl Jean Sanders, Patty Lee, Sarah Joyce Sampson, Lillie “Tiny” Lyons; all of Beaumont, Texas; noble and devoted brother Ottice Kelly Thomas (Judy) of Katy, Texas; and a host of dear relatives and friends.