NORBERT FRANCIS THOMAS JR. (1947 - 2018)

Obituary
  • "Debbie, I did not know that Norbert had passed since my..."
    - Deanie Janjecic
  • "I knew Norb when he was working for GPD back then things..."
    - Kaye Lewis
  • "Those who pass on God Keeps in his memory because he cares..."
  • "My prayers go out to Norb's wife and family. His passing..."
    - Dick Gerard
  • "R I P from St Michael the Archangel , the patron saint of..."
    - Ken Antos

THOMAS, JR.,
NORBERT FRANCIS
Norbert Francis Thomas, Jr., 71, of Tavares, FL, passed peacefully on May 7, 2018 at Cornerstone Hospice of Tavares.
Norb, as he was known to family and friends, was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 16, 1947 as the only child to the late Norbert Francis Thomas, Sr., and Isabella (Sherman) Thomas.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 25 years Debbie Thomas, his son, Brian Thomas and his wife Dianne of Raleigh, NC; his daughter, Natalie Thomas of Jacksonville, FL; and his daughter, Nicole Spears and her husband Steven Spears of High Springs, FL; and his grandchildren Owen Thomas, Dylan Miller, Aubrie Thomas, Holly Thomas, Lacie Spears, and Tyler Spears.
He also leaves behind his two adored Bichon Frises, Poochie and Jessie. How a former K-9 Police Officer and Police Chief ever became so attached to these two fluffy white lap dogs remains a mystery but they will miss him as intensely as all of us.
Norb graduated from Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1965. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Florida (1977) and a master's degree in criminal justice from Rollins College (1981).
A dedicated and lifelong public servant, Norb served on the Gainesville (FL) Police Department from 1971 to 1993. He began his career with the GPD as a patrol officer and retired as a Captain and Commander of the Patrol Division, which at the time consisted of 125 sworn officers and 75 civilian personnel.
After retiring from the GPD he moved to Tavares, FL to become Police Chief, a position he held from 1993 to 1999. After serving as Tavares Police Chief he served on the Tavares City Council from 2000 to 2003, on the Tavares Police Pension Board from 2012 to 2017, and on the Tavares Planning and Zoning Board from 2011 until his death.
Norb's final law enforcement position was as Special Agent with the Florida State Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco from 1999 to 2006.
Over the years some of Norb's many civic engagements included serving on several City of Gainesville boards, the Lake County Safety Council, the Tavares Historical Society Board, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association Foundation Board. He was also an active member of Rotary International where he was a Paul Harris Fellow.
The family will receive visitors on Friday, May 11th from 5 to 8pm at Steverson, Hamlin, and Hilbish Funeral Home at 226 E. Burleigh Blvd, Tavares, FL 32778, (352) 343-4444. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 12 at 11am at the First United Methodist Church of Tavares at 600 West Ianthe Street, Tavares, FL. 32778,
(352) 343-2761.
Donations may be made in Norb's memory to the Central Florida Concerns of Police Survivors
(http://www.centralflorida
cops.org/index.html),
whose mission is to assist in rebuilding the shattered lives of the family members left behind by Law Enforcement Officers who have died or were killed in the line of duty. Donations may be made online or by mail to Central Florida Concerns of Police Survivors, P.O. Box 782385, Orlando, FL 32878-2385.
Condolences, memories and photos may be shared on the tribute wall at
www.SteversonHamlin
Hilbish.com

Funeral Home
Steverson, Hamlin & Hilbish Funerals and Cremations
226 East Burleigh Boulevard
Tavares, FL 32778
(352) 343-4444
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Published in Gainesville Sun from May 10 to May 11, 2018
Funeral Home Details