John Murl Thomas passed away peacefully in his home in Fort Smith, Arkansas on March 13, 2021, with his children at his side. John was born in St. Louis, Missouri on May 12, 1946 to John Granvel and Bernice Marie Thomas. John grew up in Lake City, Arkansas and attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
Among other things, John was a son, a brother a musician, and a soldier in the U.S. Special Forces with a Silver Star awarded for "exceptional courage under fire". His children considered him the best father you could ask for and said he taught them the measure of a man is not in what he says, but what he does.
John was always willing to help out those in need, and always tried to find the light and humor in any situation. He emphasized the importance of compassion and hope.
John was preceded in death by his parents, John and Bernice Thomas of Lake City, Arkansas and two sisters, Nancy Lynn Thomas, infant, of Lake City and Brenda Clark of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. John is survived by his two children, John S Thomas and Hannah Thomas, both of Little Rock and by his siblings, Barbara Ishmael of Burns, Tennessee, Judy Kirchner of Charlotte, North Carolina, Peggy Lafon (Roy) of Flippin, Arkansas, Rick Thomas of Jonesboro, Arkansas and Douglas Thomas (Linda) of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.
Plans for a memorial service at a later date have not been finalized but will be made public when available.
The family wishes to offer a special thanks to Mary and Tony Lopez of Fort Smith who were faithful caregivers to John, allowing him to remain in his home during his illness.
Published in Times Record from Apr. 5 to Apr. 6, 2021.