Matthew Jody Thomas, 27, passed away peacefully in his home in South Daytona on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. Matthew, who liked to be known as Matt, is the son of Harold Jody Thomas. Matt was a wonderful person with a huge heart. He had a love for life and his family and had an almost perpetual smile when he would spend time with those around him. Matt could make friends with almost anyone and had a trust and belief in those around him. Matt loved to fish and hunt and the outdoors. He had recently taken up the sport of bow fishing. He spent hours on motorcycles, dirt bikes and snowboarding. Like his father, he was skilled in these areas. Matt also loved watching sports. He loved watching football and basketball and was an avid Florida Gator fan. Matt graduated from Taylor High School. After graduation, he joined the United States Army. Matt was promoted to Sergeant and served two tours in Iraq. While serving his country, Matt received the following medals and commendations: Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal with 3 campaign stars, Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), Meritorious Unit Commendation (2nd Award), Army Achievement Medal (3rd Award), Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Service Medal (2nd Award). During his service overseas, Matt sadly lost 6 heroes, of which he was very close, in one night in one attack. He was proud to have been able to serve with such a fine group of men and servants and he spoke of their loss often. Sergeant Matthew Thomas retired from the Army in 2013 with an Honorable Discharge. As you can see, Matt loved to serve and loved his country. He never backed away from his duty as a son or a soldier. He never backed away from a fight when it was for just cause. He never turned his back on those he loved and that loved him. Matt Thomas was a fine man and a wonderful son. He is survived by his father, Harold Jody Thomas; his uncle Dennis Thomas and his grandmother, Betty Ann Flannigan and his constant companion Pugsley his dog.
Visitation will be Friday, December 13, 2013 at Lankford Funeral home from 5:00pm-7:30pm with a funeral service Saturday, December 14, 2013, 1:30pm at Lankford Funeral Home with burial to follow at DeLand Memorial Gardens. Donations may be made in Matthew's memory to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675, or to West Volusia Little Hatters, P.O. Box 308, Deleon Springs, FL 32130.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Dec. 12, 2013