Jon Charles Thomas, Sr., 74 of Gainesville passed away on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at Shands @ UF. Jon was born on January 22, 1939 in Uniontown, PA to Robert and Myrtle Thomas. He served in the US Army from 1957 until 1965, receiving an Honorable Discharge.
Jon was an Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. He has been a Licensed Funeral Director since 1959, owning and operating several different funeral homes, cemeteries and cremation businesses. In 1986 Jon became the Chief Executive Officer of Thomas-Pierce and Company, specializing in sales, acquisitions, mergers, construction, development, marketing, and cash flow management for the funeral and cemetery industries and cremation businesses throughout the United States and Canada. Since 2004 Jon has owned, along with his wife, Patsy, Forest Meadows Funeral Home and Cemeteries, Moring Funeral Home in Melrose, Evans-Carter Funeral Home in High Springs and A-Direct Cremations in Gainesville and Summerfield and has served as CEO for each company since their acquisition.
In 1970, Jon was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and went on to serve in the Florida State Senate until 1978. Throughout his political career he served on many committees, including Governmental Efficiency Study Commission as its Chairman, Florida Real Estate Commission Education and Research Foundation Advisory Committee, Chairman of Health and Rehabilitative Services Committee, Appropriations Committee, the Commerce Committee and had been a Board Member of the State of Florida Medical Examiner from 2009 until his resignation earlier this month.
During his lifetime, Jon won many awards, all of which he was so very proud of, with each holding a special meaning to him. Some of those awards include Young Man of the Year in Fort Lauderdale, 1967; Legislator of the Year, 1973, 1976, and 1977 by the Florida Association for Retarded Children; Conservation Legislator – Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation; Presented the Florida Wildlife Special Service Award, 1977; Recipient of the Leonard L. Abness Human Relations Award, 1978, by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and most recently, Rotary Club of Gainesville 2012 Ethics in Business Award.
Jon was also very active in the Funeral Care Industry. His professional associations included: Board Member, Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science; Florida Funeral Directors Association; National Funeral Directors Association; Florida Cemetery Association; Independent Funeral Directors of Florida; Selected Independent Funeral Directors: Order of the Golden Rule; American Cemetery Association; Southern Cemetery Association; Pre-arrangement Interment Association of America (PIAA).
Jon was always involved in his community and very committed to his church, wherever he lived. He served in many civic organizations as: President of the Tallahassee Region Soap Box Derby, Inc. Tallahassee, Florida; Past Board Member – Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce; Past Chairman- Bay North Homeowners Association; Past Board Member – Goodwill Industries; Past President – Leon High School Cheerleading Association; Past Chairman – Leon High School Foundation. Jon served as member of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville Quarterback Club, and Gainesville Rotary Club and attended Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville. Jon also had affiliations with: Royal Order of Jesters, Tallahassee Court #194; Jackson Lodge #1, F & AM; Keystone Chapter – Royal Arch Masons; Scottish Rite Temple, Tallahassee; Morocco Temple, Ambassador at Large, Jacksonville; and Marzuq Temple, Ambassador at Large, Tallahassee.
Jon’s success came from ambition, knowledge of business, professionalism and compassion for those he served. He was admired and respected by his colleagues and employees. When asked about his accomplishments, he responded “I owe my success to my love and faith in God, and my family. My family is my most valued reward.”
Jon is predeceased by his parents Robert and Myrtle Thomas and a brother James Thomas. He is survived by his wife Patsy Ann Fowler Thomas, children Timothy James Thomas (Lance Licciardi), Hollee Ann Bollman (Kyle) and Jon Charles Thomas II (Karen). A brother Gerald Thomas (Joy) and grandchildren Cole, Hannah and Miles Bollman and Charlie, Julia and Sailor Thomas.
Funeral Service for Mr. Thomas will be held on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32653. There will be a visitation on Saturday, June 22, 2013 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32609, (352)378-2528.
If you would like to make a donation to one of his favorite causes, please see the links below. Or make a donation to one of your favorite charities–Jon would definitely approve.
*If you have a special picture or memory of Jon that you would like to share with the family and staff, please e-mail it to us or bring it with you to the visitation or service.
*If you will be traveling in from out of town. The family has reserved a block of rooms at the Best Western Gateway Grand.