James Thomas

James Abbott Thomas

Friday, June 17th, 1949 - Monday, June 17th, 2019
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Obituary

On June 17, 2019, faithful servant James Abbott Thomas, beloved husband of Diane L. (Heffner) Thomas, loving father of David Thomas and his wife Bethany Beecher Thomas, Jonathan Thomas and his wife Kerry Thomas and Rebecca Thomas Fraley and her husband Kevin Fraley, dear brother of Pamela Price and her husband Jack Price, cherished grandfather of Liam, Rhys, Caroline, Lily, Gabrielle, Peyton, Logan, and Sutton, was commended into the hands of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on his 70th birthday.

Friends may call Sunday June 23rd from 2-4 & 6-8 p.m. at the Slack Funeral Home, P.A., 3871 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Funeral Services will be held Monday 10 a.m., with visitation from 9-10 a.m., at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 7607 Old Sandy Spring Rd., Laurel, MD 20707. Interment St. Johns Cemetery, Ellicott City, MD

James (Jimmy and later Jim) was born on June 17th, 1949 to Mr. and Mrs. James E. Thomas of Akron, OH. Jim served in the Naval Air National Guard for four years and attended Akron University. In 1972, Jim earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and went on to serve our Nation with a distinguished 42 year career at the National Security Agency. Jim married Diane Louise Thomas, née Heffner, on August 4th, 1973. Jim's work took him and his young family to England where they lived from 1985-1988. During his time overseas, Jim developed a love and kinship with the country and people that would stay with him for his entire life. This time abroad also gave Jim and his family a chance to connect with relatives in Wales and presented a special opportunity to take his father back to the place of his birth in Cefn-Coed, Myrthur Tydfil for the first time in over 50 years.

Upon his return stateside, Jim's lifelong passion for music and strong faith came together in his dedicated service as an active member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Laurel, MD. A gifted singer, Jim would bring tears to many eyes in solo and choral performances. Jim played piano, bells, guitar, (not to mention banjo!) and was the chairman of the worship and music committee for over 25 years. Jim along with his wife Diane have also been active participants in outreach and service projects over the years, helping with everything from facility maintenance, and decoration, to international aid and support for the local homeless.

In his later years, Jim enjoyed traveling and spending time with family. Some highlights were times visiting and vacationing with his son Jonathan and family in South Carolina where they enjoyed time with their oldest granddaughter, Gabby with whom Jim shared a love of history. Jim and Diane made several trips abroad to visit with their daughter Rebecca and her family where they explored Europe while playing and laughing with their doting grandkids, Peyton, Logan, and baby Sutton. Jim loved camping and fishing and enjoyed sharing this love with his grandkids from Annapolis, Liam, Rhys, Caroline, and Lily, where they spent time by the water and went camping many Memorial Day weekends to Tuckahoe State Park on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Jim passed suddenly on Monday night when his ailing heart finally gave out after 70 years of faith, service, and love.

We will miss him terribly, but will treasure the memories, the laughter, the wisdom, and the example he set.

"Well done, good and faithful servant."
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 | 2:00pm - 4:00pm
    When
    Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm
    Location
    Slack Funeral Home, P.A.
    Address
    3871 Old Columbia Pike
    ELLICOTT CITY, MD 21043
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Second Visitation

    Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    Slack Funeral Home, P.A.
    Address
    3871 Old Columbia Pike
    ELLICOTT CITY, MD 21043
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Third Visitation

    Monday, June 24th, 2019 | 9:00am - 10:00am
    When
    Monday, June 24th, 2019 9:00am - 10:00am
    Location
    Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
    Address
    7607 Old Sandy Spring Rd
    LAUREL, MD 20707
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, June 24th, 2019 | 10:00am
    When
    Monday, June 24th, 2019 10:00am
    Location
    Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
    Address
    7607 Old Sandy Spring Rd
    LAUREL, MD 20707
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Officiant
    Pastor Connie Miller of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Interment

    Location
    St. John's Cemetery
    Address
    3480 St. John's Lane
    ELLICOTT CITY, MD 21042
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Donations

Donations are being accepted for: HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH.

Condolences

We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of James here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

Private Condolence
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10 trees have been planted in memory of James Abbott Thomas
T

The Snyder Family

Posted at 11:37pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
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TF

The Boone, The Jimerson and the Bart families

Posted at 08:26pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Thomas families. Jim was loved and will be missed by us all. Sending hugs to the Thomas families.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of James Thomas — Plant a Tree Now
BM

Bill and Sue Mick

Posted at 08:13am
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
Martin Luther
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2 memorial trees were planted in the memory of James Thomas — Plant a Tree Now
AT

Al Talkington

Posted at 11:35pm
I did want to share a few or my many memories of Jim. We met in college at the University of Akron majoring in engineering. We became friends when we accepted jobs at the same agency as part of the school's co-op program, that required that we work in our field of study as part of the curriculum. So for 4 periods during the program we shared an apartment in the Washington area along with several colleagues and continued to share an apartment as we started our professional careers. It was only for 5 years but a very eventful 5 years where we both graduated, started our professional lives, and got married. We were both avid guitar players and became very good friends. However I took a job in another part of the country and we stayed in contact mostly through Christmas cards the occasional visit. However, since these were our formative years for our adult lives, these experiences have stuck with me these 50 years later and I will always treasure those times.

Now some anecdotes that hopefully will make you smile or nod knowingly.

Jim was always a very upbeat person and able to see the good or fun in most situations. He always had a smile or a laugh almost no matter what was going on. But he wasn't a real drinker. We would frequently leave work on Friday afternoon and head to one of the Delaware beaches for the weekend with a cooler of beer. We'd arrive sometime at night and just hit the beach. Jim would drink a beer but by the time he finished his second, he was definitely feeling it. As a result, he earned the sometimes nickname of "Two beer Thomas, the only one who could get 3 good drunks from a 6 pack". He thought that nickname was hilarious, of course.
Another funny story is when we would go swimming at the pools in our apartments. He would get up on the diving board and almost invariably end up doing a belly flop. I asked him why that was. His response was that as soon as he jumped, he couldn't figure out what dive he wanted to do so ended up hitting on his stomach. Hard to stop laughing at that one.
The last story I would like to tell is one that is more serious. When we met many years later he didn't remember doing this but it happened and stuck with me for all these years. We were living in apartments across the road from each other at this time. My phone rang at 2:00 in the morning one night. I answered and he asked me if I could come over, that he needed to talk. He said he didn't have any other 2 o'clock in the morning friends. Of course I went over and we had a long conversation about a tragedy that had happened earlier that night. Details aren't important but the concept of a 2 o'clock in the morning friend stuck with me ever since. We were indeed 2 o'clock in the morning friends and, frankly, those are rare.
Even though after I moved away we seldom saw each other, whenever I managed to get in the DC area I'd look him and Diane up and they would always be gracious hosts, even inviting other old friends over. Mimi and I enjoyed these visits and we always treasure them and miss him. We will keep Diane and her family in our thoughts and prayers.
MB

Mark, Shalimar, Zach and Quinn Beekman

Posted at 05:35pm
In loving memory of Uncle Jim.
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2 memorial trees were planted in the memory of James Thomas — Plant a Tree Now
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