August 16, 1965 ~ December 14, 2005

Born in: Richmond, VA,
Resided in: Fairview, NC

Rev. John P. Thomas, 40, of 29 Hickory Nut Cove Road, died unexpectedly, Wednesday, December 14, 2005. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he was the son of James R. Thomas and his wife Katherine of Charlotte, NC and Doloris Rock Edmonds and her husband Bob of Dundas, Virginia. Rev. Thomas attended Western Carolina University and Mars Hill College and was formerly the youth minister at Beverly Hills Baptist Church and pastor of Gashes Creek Baptist Church. He was the founding and current pastor of Ecclesia Baptist in Fairview. John’s mission was to be a follower of Christ, committed to live by faith, to be known for his love, and to offer a voice of hope. He was very active in youth activities including the East Buncombe Youth Football League and youth leagues in East Asheville, Fairview and Reynolds. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife, Michelle Camby Thomas; two sons, John R. Thomas and Jared P. Thomas; father-in-law, Bob Camby; mother-in-law, Mickey Camby all of the home; two sisters, Paige Morgan of Charlotte and Gwyn Sleeper of Norfolk, VA; two brothers, Robert Thomas of Nashville, Tenn. and Adam Thomas of Charlotte and his aunts, Marilyn Oliver and her husband Edwin of Alexandria, Va., Joyce Hardisty and her husband Marvin of Richmond, Va. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM Sunday in Trinity of Fairview conducted by the Revs. Mike Anderson, Stan Dotson and Kim Christman assisted by Kenny Feigl, Karen Doucette, Daniel Martin and Jerry Dotson. Interment will follow in Green Hills Cemetery. The family will receive friends for one hour prior to the service at the church.

Memories Timeline

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  1. Michelle, John, Jared, Bob and Mickey,

    We were so shocked, sad and sorry to hear of the loss of John but we rejoice in knowing he is in the arms of the Father. There are no words we can say to ease the pain you are feeling but know that you remain in our thoughts and prayers. We know that John touched the lives of countless people and we count ourselves blessed to have known him. I hope that you are able to feel the comfort that only God Our Father can give us. We love you and will continue our prayers for you.

    Scott, Susan, Ashley, Justin and Emily Sodorff

  2. Michelle,
    Jean Morgan has dictated the following to me to be placed in the guestbook condolences…

    The shock of my life was joy in John’s life. Our loss here was his gain there. Never have I known one who so completely served God and brought people to His throne of mercy. We shall all miss him, but know that our lives were greatly blessed by this servant of God. My prayers shall remain with you and your sons that you will always be blessed and remember John’s contributions and leadership in your lives. God is and will continue to sustain you. Know that I love you because of God’s love through us all.
    Jean Morgan

  3. Michelle, John, Jared, Mickie, and Bob,

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. It was such a shock to hear of John’s passing. Mike and Lori are both still in a daze since they heard on Wednesday. They just loved John when he was at BHBC and still speak of him often. He is going to be greatly missed. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to let us know. God grant you peace and comfort during these days. We love you all.

    Sandi, Mike & Lori Plemmons

  4. Michelle,

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Michelle, John and Jared,
    We love you all so very much and we are devistated to hear about your husband and father. He was a precious and special man, we loved him too. Our hearts ache for you. I can only imagine the pain and loss you must feel. Please know that we bear your sorrow. Michelle, you and I have been friends for such a long time, you are like a sister. Your boys are like mine too. We will never forget all that John did for our youth group nor the times we shared in the boys’ sports, playing and visiting, and church fellowship. We will be praying for you. We love you and hope to see you soon.
    Your Friends,
    Jeff, Dianne, Tyler, Jacob and Scarlett

  6. John made me feel so welcome whenever I came home. I looked forward to seeing him everytime I came and visited. He has started a great church and I know it will continue to grow strong in his memory. He was the cornerstone of many people’s faith. He will be missed.

  7. Michelle, you and your family have my deepest sympathy. As you probably know, to be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the Lord God Almighty, where we all hope to be one day. I know how you must feel because my oldest sister and brother-in-law died in the same manner. It was a shock for the family, but with God’s help, we made it through and I know you will also. Hold on to God’s unchanging hand, and let us know if we can help you in any way.

    Clem Walton

  8. Michelle, John, and Jared,
    We are shocked and so saddened to hear about John. You all have had a special part in our lives from John being Michael’s first basketball coach, to the beginnings of Haw Creek Moms in Touch, to Meredith and little John starting their school years together. You are such a dear and special family that displays the love of Christ in all you do. We will certainly be praying for God’s peace and comfort for you all.
    With all our love, The Wilsons

  9. Michelle: I just hear about your loss and I am so sorry for you and your family. Trust in God; he will help you through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  10. Michelle, John, and Jared…
    Michelle, you and John have touched my life in such a short amount of time of really getting to know you. I am deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing and your families loss. I have thought about your family non-stop for days now and will continue to keep you’ll in my thoughts and prayers. I love you’ll and will be here for anything you may need.

  11. We were so shocked to hear about John, he was such a blessing in our lives. Your family is in our hearts and prayers.

  12. Michelle,John and Jared,

    I cannot express in words the sadness that our family is feeling for your loss. Please accept our deepest sympathy. He was a wonderful man, know that he is now at home with OUR FATHER. May you continue to be comforted by the conviction of your faith. You will not walk alone. We will continue to pray for all of you.

    Love in Christ,

    Eddie, Diane, Eddie Jr and Michael Kirby

  13. Michelle, John, Jared, Mickey & Bob

    I as so sorry and shocked to hear about John. Though I did not know him well I understand that he was a great man in God and with his family. He will be greatly rewarded in heaven.

    I know I don’t see you or the family often but I do love you. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Kim Gillett

  14. Michelle,

    Joan Shifflett just told me about your husband passing. You and your family have my deepest sympathies. Time really passes fast, it seems so short a time ago that I remember you getting married. God will pull you through this , he always does.
    you are in my prayers and thoughts.


  15. Michelle, John, Jared,
    Words cannot express my saddness and grief for your loss. John was like no other man I have ever met in my life. He touched every persons heart that he came in contact with. I love him with all of my heart.
    You will be in my prayers for the rest of my life.

  16. Michelle, John, and Jared,
    I honestly don’t know what to say or where to begin. We are still in shock. I think John was the nicest most caring man I have ever met. He was the reason that I got back in chruch and why I wanted my boys to be there every Sunday. I am so greatful for the time I got to spend with him. And for the times my boys were around him. He always made all 4 of us feel welcome no matter what the circumstances may have been. I just hope and pray that Carter and Brenson grow up to be half the man that he was. If there is anything at all that we can do for you please let us know. We love you very much.

  17. Thomas family, i’m so sorry about the lose of John. It doesn’t seem like it could be true.Just no your in everyones hearts and prays. John and Daniel are watching over us. I love yall

  18. Dear Michelle, John, Jared, Mickey,Bob, and all the family:

    I was shocked to hear of the untimely passing of John. He was a rising star and a blooming flower in the work of the kingdom of God. It was a pleasure for me to work with him as he followed God’s leadership in his life. He was a man with a vision that others will catch and carry on.
    There will be a long afterglow of John’s life for years to come. For you, the family, it will never fade away. He was in God’s will – what more can a man ask for?
    Stella and I pray for you. May God bring you comfort and peace now and forever more. We love each of you!

    Gayle D. Brown, Retired Director of Missions, Buncombe Baptist Association

  19. Michelle,John,Jared,Bob and Mickey

    We are deeply saddened with the loss of John on this earth but know he is in heaven with our heavenly father. May the Lord comfort and keep you in the days ahead.If we can help you in anyway please let us know. Love in Christ.

  20. We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Our hearts are breaking for you. John always preached on everyone having a purpose in life, his purpose was fulfilled, and we must continue on to find ours. I know that Jordan will miss his hi-fives on Sunday mornings. He was a true blessing in our lives. Please let us know if you need any thing.

    With love,
    Doug, Kim, & Jordan

  21. Dear Michelle,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. This is something that we are never prepared for. Grab ahold of your faith and your friends and never let go. God will walk with you through every step. Know that you are loved and that John will be truly missed. If there is anything that we can do, please do not hesitate to ask. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Melanie and Steve Baldwin

  22. We did not know John Thomas however, some of our family goes to Ecclesia. We are so sorry to hear of his unexpected passing but trust God with and for the family that His purpose had been fulfilled through his life and His purpose continues to be fulfilled in the Thomas family. We pray for you as you adjust to his absence and seek the Lord for direction. God bless.

  23. Michelle, What a wonderful man John was. He gave his heart to the Lord and devoted his life to his work. He was such a kind man to all he came in contact with, trying to help all he could. What an example for his sons, family members & friends. We remember so many times that John called to help someone with a job opportunity.
    At this time when grief is so close to the soul & we cannot pray for ourselves, I believe the Holy Spirit & those who care for us, intercede on our behalf. You will have our faithful prayers.

    We love you,
    Bill & Judy Goforth

  24. I am so very sorry for your loss. John preformed my wedding ceremony and was a wonderful help in my getting the things done the way I wanted. He was very supportive and a great influence on my getting back to church. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and whose lives he touched. Sincerly Connie Burnett

  25. I am very sorry to hear about John. He has touched the lives of so many people. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

    Yours in Christ,
    Cindy Whitaker


  27. Michelle, John,Jared,Mickey,Bob,

    It is true. Words cannot begin to express our grief and pain. The Bible says that when we don’t have the words, The Holy Spirit takes over and prays for us. John did what Jesus would do, better than anyone I have ever known. He was truely a man of faith, character and vision. He loved God and his family so much and will live on forever through you, his biological family, and through us, Ecclesia, his ‘blood’ family(Jesus).

    One of my greatest delights was to give him a little grief as I am prone to do to all my children. Much to my chagrin, when I thought I might be teaching John something, I would find that he was teaching me! What a man! What a compelling passion for lost people, especially young people who he feared would never know God. We at Ecclesia have been privileged to know such a visionary and now we must carry on his vision, which is Christ’s Great Commission. May God give you all the peace that passes all understanding, that comes only from Him. John had that peace. He had the passion.We loved him and we love you. His work is not over. It has only just begun.

    One other note, I really admired and appreciated the way John accepted all people, making them feel welcome, loved and special, with a purpose in life.

    With much love.

    Sandra Dotson

    PS: John, I think I’m about to get it!

  28. Michelle and Family:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during these days. We know that John was a great man and a loving father, as well as a Pastor who loved the Lord and loved people. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Please know that all of us at Grassy Branch Baptist Church will be remembering you in our prayers.

  29. Michele, John, Jared, Bob & Mickey,
    John’s passing came as a shock to all of us. Most of us go about our lives thinking that there will always be tomorrow to do what needs to be done today. John was the exception. You could see it in the way he lived his life and reached out to others. He has made an impact on every person he has ever met, especially children. I’m sure if he was able to tell you today, he would have no regrets, other then leaving the ones he loved the most behind. Words could never express our sympathy for all of you, but please know that all of you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Terry, Beth, Zach & Jordan Ray

  30. i didnt know him at all but i knew his son and he was a nice guy and i’m sure Rev. John was just like his son. you will be missed and always remembered!

  31. My heart is very sad for all of you. I am a friend of Bob (& Mickey), from the Air Board. I know how important you all are to each other as a family, and I am so sorry for your loss.
    My deepest respects

  32. There are no words…to describe what John meant to me. No words for how his loss will be felt. He touched everyone he came in contact with in a profound and wonderful way. Who I am today and who I hope to be were both influenced by the years spent with John as he taught all of us in BHBC Youth. We will miss him.

    For Michelle, John, and Jared…I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll try to make it back into town as soon as I can.

  33. Dear Michelle, John, and Jared,

    I remember first meeting John and thinking to myself what a nice man he is. He truly cared about people and their feelings. He made everyone feel so welcome at church. He was such a wonderful person and will be missed very much. Our hearts especially go out to you, Michelle, John, and Jared. We love you guys.

    Chuma, Rebecca, and Makhi

  34. There isn’t enough space to put everything I feel about a man who was not only my pastor, but my real life idol. I am blessed to be one on this earth who was able to serve under John. He is a saint in my eyes. I thank him for his leadership, his vision, his trust, and most of all his love. We don’t get a chance to meet people like John often in this life, I am so thankful I was able to. I love you John and will miss you greatly.

  35. Michelle, we cannot begin to express our sympathy and to know exactly what you’re going through right now, but we do know that God will lead you through this very difficult time. John was such a wonderful, caring, loving man. He touched the lives of so many and his works will continue on. You are in our thoughts and prayers, if there is ever anything that we can do, please let us know.

    Love, Jimmy, Lisa, Josh and Jeremy

  36. It was with sadness that we learned of John’s passing. We met John
    when he officiated at our daughter Laura and Robert’s wedding. It was
    A beautiful day in a beautiful mountain chapel. John impressed us as a wonderful and kind person and we know he will be sorely missed. Please accept our condolences.

    Peyton and Willie Greyer

  37. Mrs. Thomas, John, and Jared,

    I am so sorry to hear of your recent loss. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that I cannot understand your pain but I do know this. God is with you, you may not feel like it but he is all the time. Your dad was a great man and showed the world who Christ was. Just know that everyone is looking out for you all and that we all love you.

    Let Christ be with you

  38. Michelle, John, Jared, Bob, Mickey, and Ecclesia Church Family

    We are shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of John. He was a man of God in whom we should all be proud. The impact he had upon our family was incredible. He was always so awesome to each and every one. Our prayers now ask for direction and healing for the many broken hearts who loved John so dearly. Thanks be to God for blessing Ecclesia with such a visionary leader, if only for a brief time.
    Joey, Lisa, Julie, & Allison

  39. Michelle, John John, Jared, Bob and Mickie

    I shall never forget that first meeting with John. I was waiting at breakfast for a young preacher who had sent a resume for our search committee to consider for our pastor. In walks this kid with a baseball hat, t-shirt, jeans and a glow about him that God only reserves for angels. He expressed to me a portion of the great vision he had for reaching lost people for Christ, especially the young adults who many have been overlooked for whatever reason, and getting the saved prepared to help in that ministry. I tried to feed him breakfast but he was completely satisfied with his coffee (extra caffine) and what he really wanted was to talk about reaching these young adults. I never doubted God’s calling John to us one time after that initial meeting. Michelle, when John the writer, wrote to the angels of the seven churches in Revelations I believe he was referring to thier pastor. I honestly believe we at Ecclesia have experienced an angel among us. God allowed John to dream bigger dreams than we have been able to dream and I want you to know that if we hadn’t gotten it before (and I think we were just beginning to get it) we are getting it now. No one, our elders, servant deacons, directors or members know as well as you do about those dreams and we need you to continue to remind us. Boys, follow the instructions of your dad because you were priviledged to be the sons of a great man. You will be surrounded by young men in out chuch who will support you in everyway, not to replace your dad, but to be there for you in any way you want them to be. Bob and Mickie, know you too are surrounded by your family at Ecclesia and we pray for you daily. Michelle, I love you, and I pray for the arms of God’s comfort to just wrap you up real good. Love, Jerry

  40. Dear Michelle, John, Jared and family,
    We are saddened to hear of John’s sudden passing. Please know that the faith family of Mountain View Baptist church will be uplifting you all in our prayers. John was an inspiration to many people, and his legacy will continue to live on for many years.
    With sincere condolences,
    Kevin Bennett
    Pastor, Mountain View Baptist

  41. Michelle, Little John, and Jared,
    We only met John one time, that of the wedding of Chad and Cristy Pressley, but because of our son, Mark Wallen and his family, we feel we know you personally. I know of no one who has had the spiritual impact on Mark that John had. To you Michelle, I too lost my husband at a young age, and I know the heartache and loss you feel. But God’s grace is sufficient, and He grants it just when we need it the most. I pray that you will feel that grace and peace that only He can give, not only now, but in the time to come. Please know that we are praying for your family, and our church family (Chestnut Hills Baptist Church) is also praying.

    May God bless you and continue to bless the work that your family has helped start, and may you, as I did, feel the wonderful arms of God around you and your family, giving you comfort.

    Joan and Arnold Spivey

  42. Dear Thomas Family,
    I know that this must be a difficult time for all of you. I’ve always looked at your family as a great encouragement and an example of how we all should be.

    Jared- You have always been such a great friend to me. You always brighten my day with a warm hug everytime I see you. I cannot imagine the pain you and your family are suffering but I want you to know that I love you as if you were my own brother and that I am here for you no matter what.

    John- I really am glad to have met you during Grease. Whether you know it or not, you were the reason I hung in there and performed all three nights! I remember having a bad cold to the point of considering to let my understudy take on my part. But then I saw that you had a cold too and that you were hanging in there. We all miss you back at CCMS and want to reach out to you. We love ya Roger.

    Mrs. Thomas- I know that this must be most devastating to you. If there is anything that my family and I can do let us know. We all love you so much. I know that I am truly blessed to have met this family through your two wonderful sons. Your husband was a great man. Just remember that you are loved by many and that God is always there looking down on you in love.

    India Sullivan

  43. This is to Michelle john john and jared,
    I’ve known you all since I was 2 years old and was looking forward to getting to know you all better and better over the years And ever since I joined the church right befor I met Daniel and had th best Summer of my life I was thinking of how I was so excited to go to you alls church because you guys truely are impportant in my life and I loved John like he was my 2nd dad. And even though he is not here on Earth he i still watching over you all every single day of your life And if there is any reason God kept him on Earth it would be his family and his church which he kept on his mind all of the time It truely is hard to think that We will never get to see him again until we get called to our lord when it is time for us to go also But it definetley reassures me to know that he is now with Daniel and ofcourse God. I will love you all forever and for always -Caroline

  44. Michelle, Jared, and John,

    It will be awhile before you see John again but what a comfort to know he will be waiting for you in Heaven. We know the seeds that he has sewn on Earth will continue to spread and fulfill the calling God set for him. We are praying that God will comfort you during this time of sorrow. Love, Michelle, Jacob, Jeff and Emily Bruns

  45. Your Family and Church are in our thoughts and prayers we are so sorry for your loss and love you all so much let us know if we can help in any way.
    -The Metcalfs

  46. Michelle, I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Jonh was a wonderful man. You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts. Love, Laura Mitchell Harbison

  47. Michele and family,
    We are so very sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Tom and Colleen
    Carolina BG

  48. My thoughts and prayers are with Michelle and the boys. John is going to be greatly missed. He is in a far better place with his heavenly father.

  49. Michelle, John-John, Jared and Family,
    I am sad about preacher John, too. He was so special to me. It made me sad that he died. He is with Joy and Love in my heart. When he was alive I just wanted to go hug him when he was saying stuff about Jesus and saying the prayers. When he was up there he was so special cause he was teaching us about Jesus. I will miss him.
    Katie Bradley (5 years old)

  50. Dear Preacher John,
    I hope I can see you again in my heart. You were special to me. You were one of the helpers. We used to see you every time that we had church. We used to see you every time in children’s church when you came by to say HI. We liked it! Sometimes we see you when you peek in the door at Sunday School. It was so funny when you peeked in the door to check on us. You were my favorite. I wish I could hug you. If I could hug you it would be very fun. Thank you for teaching us about Jesus!
    I love you,
    Katie Bradley,’ age 5

  51. We pray the God will have his hand upon you during this very stressful and sad time. We are so sorry for your loss. John will be missed by Fairview. I have always admired your family for your work and involvement in the community. May the Holy Spirit fill you with peace, knowing John did his job well while on this part of his journey. ……….Mary, Daniel and Joey Krick

  52. Michelle, John, and Jared,

    John was a Gift to his friends and community, but a treasure to you. We pray for you to have healing and strength, to know that from above he is watching over you, loving you as he would if he was here.

  53. We are thinking of you during this difficult time. John was such a special person to everyone. We share in your grief.

  54. Dear Mrs. Thomas, John, and Jared:

    I just want to let you guys know that you’re in my prayers everyday. I am very sorry for what happened. One of the verses in the Bible that has helped me through terrible times like this is: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’ Phillipians 4:13. Hopefully it will help you guys too. You all are such wonderful people and I know that your husband/dad was too. He is in a better place right now, and someday you shall see him again. My family is praying for you.

    God Bless you and your family*

  55. Michelle, John and Jared My prayers go out to you and your family. John was a special person who touched many people. You will cherish your memories forever in your hearts. jane davis (Haw Creek)

  56. Mrs. Thomas, Jared, John, our thoughts and prayers are with you throught this hard time. God has a plan for your family. we are here for you any time you need.
    love ya always,
    The Presley Family

  57. Dear Mrs. Thomas,
    I just wanted to let you know that I am sorry to hear what happened. I can’t even imagine how you must feel. I know you must be sad and you must be wondering why God did this to you but, He has a reason for everything. He will always be with you and someday you will see John again. My Mom always says, Fear not the Lord is with you. Isaiah 41:10. I will be praying for you and your family.

  58. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. John was a very special man in many peoples lives. I had the wonderful opportunity to be on the sidelines with my squad cheering for his EBR team. I can only imagine the shock and feelings you are going through. Please know that the community is here for you, you only need to let us know what we can do for you. May God bring you comfort in knowing that John is at the side of our creator.
    Our deepest sympathy,
    Christine Lopez & Ashelee Lopez



  61. Michelle, John, and Jerred
    You are in our prayers. John was one of the greatest men we knew. We will never forget how he made a difference in our lives. He will always be remebered with a smile. Take Care.

  62. To the Thomas family and friends, my deepest sympathy goes to each one of you. John and I were friends in High School, what a wonderful person and friend he was. He always was positive, happy and loyal to his friends. I have great memories of him from High School, several classes we had together, going to our senior prom with a group of ‘his’ friends and his beautiful smile. I am very sorry for your loss it sounds like John has since touched so many lives and brought so much love, happiness and to each one of them, for that we all have been blessed. God Bless.

  63. Dear Michelle & Boys:

    I’ll never forget the trip you all made down to Georgia last year for Christian weekend at six flags. What a great time I had. I’ll never forget you and John waiting in line to ride one of the rides when I came up and said hey is this Ecclesia Baptist Church? Both of you looked at me so proudly with these welcoming smiles. David and I have been members at our church here for over 20 years but when we have been in Asheville we have felt even more at home at Ecclesia. There have been recent times that we both have listened to Johns messages and just felt the love and the warmth of Ecclesia folks. Your family means alot to us even when we just visit. We will never forget John and the impact he had on us and so many people. Even visiting people like us. Thank you Michelle for making me feel so important when we visit. We are praying for you and the boys.

    We’re always here for you,


    Greta and David

  64. Dear Michelle and boys,

    We had prayed for years that God would somehow, someway remove the aggravating and irritating neighbors we once had that formerly occupied the building Ecclesia is now in. However, I’ll admit I was very short-sighted in my faith in that I never dreamed He would bless us with a strong, Jesus-filled church as a new neighbor. But He did, and He also blessed us with John. John was a great man, a visionary, a true friend to obviously so many; he will be greatly missed.

    I already miss seeing him at the church early in the morning as I’m walking the dog, or sitting in his office window as I’m taking down the trash, or remembering the countless times I have seen his wave as I labored to keep my grass mowed. Little things like that, that mean nothing to anyone else, now mean a great deal to my family and I.

    I know you have also have these special ‘ordinary’ memories as well. Please know that just as you do, we will treasure these thoughts always.

    Also, know that Diane’s mom, Wanda Spivey, thought a great deal of John, and loved him as a special friend. She always felt safe knowing John was close at hand.

    You and the boys are in our prayers and thoughts constantly. Thank you for sharing John with us. We just wish we could have know him longer.

    May Our Father’s peace and comfort give you strength as you face each new day.

    In His Love,

    Danny, Diane, and Emily Edwards

  65. Mr. Thomas made such an impression on our family; We did not know him personally, just remember him from Reynolds youth league football games & practices. His faith in God was evident through his actions and his words. Your family & friends are in our thoughts and prayers.

  66. John from my math class,

    i have no idea what to say right about now. i only met your dad twice but let me tell you that he was one of the nicest people i have ever met! he was so friendly and he had the most perfect smile! seriously he did. thats the one thing that i vividly remember. plus how genuine he was. genuine describes him real well.
    church has never really worked out for me, but those two sundays i came there, i felt so convicted and went home and made a list of stuff in my life i needed to fix. I know that he’s made such a difference in peoples lives. John. P. Thomas is most definitely beyond a shadow at the top of my list of heroes. i cried so hard when i found out, i am sooo sooo sooo SO INCREDIBLY sorry for you and your mom and Jared. i think that somehow this fits into Gods plan and maybe it even happened for a reason. i can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for you though and how hard it must be to handle this kind of thing.
    2 Corinthians ch. 1

  67. Michelle, John, Jared:
    Words cannot express our sorrow. What a shock this has been. However, thanks to Jesus Christ, there is still hope. You will see John again one day. John made an impact on so many kids and adults as well. You also are making a difference in the lives of our children. Thank you for your Christian influence and caring personality at Cane Creek. Tyler thinks the world of you. We will be praying daily for you and the boys during this difficult time.

    Chuck, Lisa, Tyler, Dylan

  68. In the short time that Ronda and I were in NC in 2003, John was our pastor. Though him I was able to find my way back to Our Lord. I will always be grateful for his spoken words and reasuring hugs. When I was up for Daniel’s service he told me how glad the was that I was there. I told him how grateful I was that he was there and that I felt that though him I knew Cindy and Larry may find some peace. To his wife and children we send our most heart felt prayers. Know that you will be in my daily request to Jesus that he bring you peace of heart. He will always be with me and Ronda. We thank his family and Our Lord for sharing him with us.

  69. John,

    Thank you for all the help and the pats on the back. We enjoyed getting to know you and all your jokes; and you eating lunch with us and giving Mrs. Huntley a hard time about class going by too slowly. We will miss you.

    Mrs. Huntley’s 3rd block math class, Erwin Middle School

  70. Michelle,
    Words cannot express my deepest and heart-felt sympathy for you and your family. We pray that the loving arms of God the Father will feel strong and sure to you as you continue your walk with Him. What a glorious day it will be when we see John again the presence of Jesus Christ whom we adore. Thank you for your work in the ministry and for being a blessing to others.

    With love,
    The McKinnie Family
    -Michael, Tonia, Jordan and Robin

  71. To John’s family, you are in our hearts and prayers as you go through this difficult time. John was a fine man, a man of God, a man we will remember. May God grant you His mercy and comfort.

  72. John:

    A great person
    A good friend
    A funny guy with lots of character

    He touched many lives.
    We have many fond memories.
    He will be missed.

  73. we’re all so sad for your loss and words simply can’t express our sympathy. i’m so sorry that we were unable to attend the service on sunday. i did hear however of the huge crowds that stood in line for hours to pay their respects.knowing that so many people thought so much of john and your family will be some comfort to you in the years to come.

    david,beverly and paul wright

  74. Michelle & Family,
    Words cannot express our heartfelt sympathy and love for you at this difficult time. John was very special to us and our children when he was youth minister at BHBC. We will always remember his love for ministry, especially to students. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you in the days and weeks ahead. May God grant you a peace that can only come from Him.
    Love, Ed & Kay Rochelle

  75. Thomas Family,
    I have been thinking about you Michelle, Jared, & John. I am very sorry for your loss and you guys are in my prayers. John was a great man and he reached out and touched many lives… adults and youngin’s.. We all loved him. If you need anything My family and I are always here for you. I Love You Guys!

    -Whitney Penland

  76. John, I am so sorry for your loss. Your Dad was a kind person and my family and I will always remember him cheering for you in basketball.

  77. I am sorry for the loss of your loved one. I know it is hard to let go of someone you love very dearly, but I will pray for you each and everyday. May God be with you through out each day.

    I was so shocked about the loss of John. Even though I didnt know him very well you certainly can tell he was a man of ‘GOD’. You were so fortunate to have such a fine husband and father to your kids. He was loved by many. I pray Gods
    hands will heal your pain and be wrapped around you until you shall she John again. I love you very much –you are family. My prayers are with you and the boys.


  79. You three are the strongest people I’ve ever seen in real life. Anyone who can look up and smile at you durring such a horrible time has more strength then I ever could. John taught you guys well. I love you, and prayers be with you, not for the strentgh that you already have, but to show how much love John brought to the most perfect strangers.

  80. Michelle, John & Jared, we were shocked to hear of this. We are so sorry. Please call if we can help.

    Love you all,
    Anne, Paul, Will & Kate

  81. Dear Michelle and boys,

    I am in shock. I just heard your news from Mary Ann Auer.
    You will be in our prayers fervently.

    Loving peace of the heart, Joyce (J. Christy from Haw Creek Elementary)

  82. Michelle, John & Jared, Micki & Bob
    No words can express the feelings we are going through right now. John was AWESOME. He truly showed the love of God to all. Your family has been holding us up through our time of grief and no words can describe the pain. I know John is in heaven with Daniel and Deb now and is glowing watching over us! Please if anything you need, we will be there. We will be praying for God to lighten your grief. We love you all so much!

  83. Michelle and Family,
    Our heart breaks with John’s passing. It is such a shock, but we know that God has called Home one of His great saints. We will never know this side of Heaven the number of people John impacted for the Kingdom. One of our fondest memories (other than Jackie’s and Eric’s wedding) was the Concert of Prayer he led us in on a retreat in Burnsville. We KNEW we had been in the presence of God. It was a moment we’ll never forget. God’s blessings on you…
    Much Love,
    Ron and Marcia

  84. I am so sorry for your loss, even though no words can heal your pain. We wanted to let you all know that you are in our prayers. John is up in heaven with my brother right now they both know how we miss them so!!! Jarod and John you boys are very special. I am sorry you both have to endure this pain, it is so shocking. Your father was a wonderful Man. He has brought so many to God. Michelle thanks for the comforting words at the baptism after my brother passed away. I know that words spoken are better than none at all. Thanks for being there for us and our family. If there is anytrhing that we can do just let me know! I love you all!

  85. Michelle, John, Jared, Bob, Mickey, and other members of John’s family:

    My heart aches for all of you …and for all of us! I want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers and we want to help in any way that you need. We, along with countless others, love you guys and want you to know that John’s impact on our lives of faith will continue to be realized and revealed in the hours and years to come. May God grant you the calm assurance that only He could love John more. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do. We love you! Blessings, prayers and peace.

  86. Dear Michelle, John, Jared, and my Dear brothers and sisters of Ecclesia Baptist Church,

    My heart is breaking for everyone of you. I will remember John as one who had the true vision of Christ. Christ came to this earth not only to die for our sins but to show us how to live a kingdom life. That kingdom life being one of ministering to the least of these my children. John knew that God’s heart and door were open to all of humanity and John opened that door of his heart and the church he led to all of humanity.

    Another major task of Christ’s ministry was to equip his disciples for carrying on his ministry when he was gone. Ecclessia John has made his vision well known to you. He has spent the last few years equipping you to carry on that vision. Do not let all of his hard work be in vain….carry it on.

    Dear Thomas family, thank you so much for sharing John with so many people. You shall be blessed. May you find comfort and peace as you share the memories and pass along the lessons.

    I love you all.


  87. Michelle, John & Jared

    Mine and Laura’s hearts and prayers are with you. I loved that guy his whole life and will miss him dearly.
    He was all about making this world a better place and he did.
    We love you guys.
    Bob & Laura

  88. I only came to know John in the few times I was able to bring Aleaha to things at church but I heard of his loveing ways toward a child who just wanted to get to know what church and god was all about and he made it fun,as all of you have there. She doesnt want to miss a day of going. May god hold your family in his hands and comfort you and give you some peace in knowing he needed another angel up there to look after us down here.

  89. Our thoughts and prayers are surrounding you all today and in the days to come. John meant so much to my brother, Tim. Our God will give you strength. We will continue to pray for that strength to guide you and give you some peace.

  90. to the thomas family I did not know john well but the time I did know him from church I knew he was a very fine paster and we will miss him. he is with the lord now in a much better place sorry for your loss of a fine man of god that we will all miss very much

  91. Michelle, Jared,John, Bob and Mickey,
    You have our deepest sympathy. You know how much he meant to us. He wasn’t only a pastor to us he was more like a brother. He was always there to listen and help in any way possible. What he has done for own entire family means more than words can express and will nerver be forgotten. Ecclesia meant the world to him as it does to us and his memory will be carried on through each member. You are in our prayers. Love always, The Jenkins family

  92. i miss u alot, you have really helped me through my hard times love, brian glover I’ll be paying for your family

  93. Michelle, John and Jared, we are so saddened by the loss of John. He will always be in our hearts. We know this is a very hard time for you and if ever there is anything we can do to help your family please let us know.

  94. thomas family,
    i will be praying for u i know that u will miss him but i love u guys and i’ll be here for u guys anytime

  95. Michelle,
    You don’t know us and we never met John but we know his parents and brothers well. Jim and Kathy always spoke of John with great love and pride. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

    Dennis and Karen Kiser
    Carolina BG

  96. Michelle,
    You know what your family has meant to me over the years. You and John helped me through so many hard times. I will miss him so much. John will always be in my heart. You and the boys are in my prayers.

  97. Michelle, John, Jared, Mickey and Bob
    We can not even begin to express the gratitude we have for John. He has helped us, along with many others, more then anybody will ever know. Truely the greatest person we have ever come across! He once told Chad that there is not anything that anybody can do to you to hurt you because where you are going is a much better place, it’s all in God’s hands. John gave us hope and faith and we will always keep that in our hearts. We know in that he is looking down on us with a smile on his face. We love you all and will always keep you in our prayers. John, we will remember you,love you and miss you forever.
    Michelle, Chad and Jordyn

  98. Dear Michelle, John and Jared:
    During this time of profound loss, our faith gives us hope.
    We can rejoice that John’s love of the Lord and the sincerity of his walk drew so many people to Christ. We are thankful that John never hesitated to ‘make a way’ for youth to come to Christ. We’re especially grateful for the impact John made in leading our son Ryan to Christ! We were blessed by his passion for preaching God’s word and sharing the Good News. John was truly a special man of God and like so many others, our family’s lives were greatly enriched by this modern-day apostle.
    May God our Father comfort you with thoughts of John’s eternal happiness sitting at the feet of Christ. May He hold you close and remind you of His everlasting love.
    You are all in our prayers!

  99. MICHELE:

  100. My husband, Danny, and I offer our deepest condolences and are keeping your family in our prayers now and in the days to come. God bless.

  101. Michelle, John, and Jared,

    What a shock to hear this tragic news. You all are in my constant prayers each day. I am so sad.

    How wonderful to know that your husband and Dad wanted nothing more than to know God and make Him known. Our God, who knows the number of each of our days, is saying to John, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’

    May you know God’s peace in a supernatural way in the coming days.
    Sincerely in Christ,
    Christi Hurd

  102. Michelle, John, Jared, Mickie, Bob, and all of John’s family,

    Our thoughts and prayers have been continually with you over the past three days, and will be in the days to come. John was the one of the most Christ-like people we have ever known, and we were challenged by him to always look for ways to serve others and bring them to the hope and peace of a relationship with Christ. This poem describes him perfectly, because he lived it , OUT LOUD, every day of his life.

    Sermons We See
    by Edgar Guest

    I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,
    I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.

    The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear;
    Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;

    And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
    For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

    I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done.
    I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

    And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true;
    But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.

    For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
    But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

    We pray for God’s peace for you and your family during the days ahead. John will be deeply missed, but he, and his vision, will live on through the church he loved so much.

    We love you all.

    Kevin, Kim, Cameron and Carly

  103. I never met a man with a stronger will to serve GOD than John. He had the drive and the passion to go out on a limb and start a new church. Ecclesia Baptist was formed and what a blessing it is to lots of people. John will be missed greatly but he will always look after us from above right beside our Heavenly Father. My prayers and love go out to his family and my chuch. We miss you John

  104. Miclele, John, Jared, Mickey, Bob, and Nina,

    I love you all. John will be missed by many. Just knowing that this good man walked here on earth with us was reassuring. My prayers are for your comfort and peace. May the work he began live on right into eternity.

  105. Mrs. Thomas, Jerod and John

    I am very sorry to hear what has happened in your family. John was a great guy and lead many people to god. We all know that he is up above in heaven. He will always be with you in your hearts. You are in my families prayers every night. May God be with you and the Thomas family.

    Brooke Vogel

  106. Michelle – So sorry to hear about your loss. My family and I will certainly be keeping you and your family in our prayers.

    Morris Brown

  107. Michelle, John Jr, and Jared…I honestly dont know what to say about your loss. I am so sorry that this happened and I do know that John is in a much better place. He is getting to see first hand what he has lived and taught every day for as long as I have known him. Sherrie and I are praying for you and the boys. Please, if there is anything that we can help out with let us know, we would be more than happy to help you in your time of grieving. We loved John very much, he has helped us tremendously with our walk with Christ and in our personal life. He will continue to help not only us but everyone else that he came in contact with through the way he lived. We love you guys and you will always be in our thoughts and prayers.

    Love in Christ,
    Brad, Sherrie, & Shane Hammond

  108. To the Thomas Family You are in our thoughts and prayers. John will be missed by all of us. We could not have ask for a better friend and pastor.He was a real tropper. Coy,Colleen,Dawn Calhoun

  109. It’s Harvey, and my heart goes out to you. I love you guys and will be keeping you in my heart and prayers during this time and beyond. John was like the brother I never had and we are going to miss him. John answered the call when he returned to school and became a reverand and I always respected him and his kind heart towards me and everyone he came across. It is hard to beleive he is gone, but we know he is in a better place and think he is smiling now down on us and waiting for the day that we will join him forever…love you Michelle, John, and Jerod.

  110. To the Thomas family;
    You are in our thoughts and prayers. May the Lord give you peace…

    Terry, Jan, Cameron and Casey Duckworth

  111. Michelle – My heart aches for you and your family. Please know our family is praying for you and asking for God’s comforting hand to be easily felt. John’s work on earth is complete, and now he can enjoy being in heaven with his risen Lord and Savior. I am reminded of these words that I’m sure John was told while entering heaven: ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’

    Jodi, Sam, Cori, Taylor, and Bradlee

  112. Michelle, Lil John, and Jared

    Words can’t express….John meant so much to our family. I can honestly say that I have never met a more humble man. The way he lived his life was an inspiration to me and my family. He constantly encouraged me and I knew he was someone I could always count on. I truly didn’t recognize the impact he made on me until I realized he was gone.
    Little John and Jared: I know you guys are having it rough right now. You guys mean the world to me and I want you to know that I am here for you anytime for anything. You guys should know that John has surrounded you guys with good people who love and care about you.
    My prayers are with you guys everyday.


  113. Thomas Family,
    I am sorry to hear this about big John. He is going to be missed very much. Just think it as him missing Daniel and he is Going to just visit him. We will all see him again one day and he will be side by side with Daniel. I am sorry again and my prayers are out to your family.

    Mrs Thomas-I love you and i know this is tough but it will all be ok! you are the best!

    -Whitney Penland

  114. Dear Mrs. Thomas, John, and Jared,
    My heart goes out to you at this time. But I have a glimmer of hope because I know your husband lead so many people to Christ. It is wonderful that he was able to fulfill his dream of having a church. John and Jared- you have to stay strong just like I know you can, your dad loved you SO much and you never should let go of that. Mrs.T- You are one of the sweetest ladies I know and this shouldn’t have happened to you, but one day you will be with him again and remember that. I love all of you so much, and there is many people who want to reach out to you–grab hold of it!

    In HIM >><>,
    Ashley Hurd

    ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’

  115. Michelle, John, Jared, Bob, and Mickey, At a time like this, words can’t express the feelings that I have about your loss. I am so sorry for your loss and I know that John is in heaven with Jesus. He was so instrumental in leading a lot of people to Christ. If I can help or do anything for you, please ask. I will keep all of you and our church in my prayers. God bless you!. Love in Christ, Jane Hammond

  116. Michelle, John, Jared, Mickey and Bob.

    Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t see you very often but the love I have for my family is always there in my heart.
    John was such a good man. I was so happy for you Michelle when you married. I know that the love the two of you shared will live on in your heart until you see him again in heaven.
    He is with the Lord and will watch over his family as he did when he was with you.
    Keep your strong faith in God and know that John made such a difference in so many lives. That is something so few of us will ever accomplish.
    I love you all…

  117. Michelle,John,Jared,Bob,Mickey,and all of John`s Family; We are all in shock.My prayers are for God`s healing hand to comfort and bring peace to all of you.John made this world a better place.Please let me know if their is any thing we can do.We love you guys..

  118. Michelle – my prayers & thoughts are with you & the boys. I know words are never enough, but know that you are loved. John was a very special person to my family; Sam & Rachel’s lives were enriched with having John as their youth pastor & their pastor. John & you will always be special to us as a family & as individuals. Love, Kathy (Lee) Hayes

  119. Michelle,John Jr,Jared,Bob,Micky and John`s Family:
    We are so saddened to hear about John.My prayers are for God`s healing comfort and peace to each of you.Boys be proud,your Dad was a wonderful man. He lived his life trusting in Christ now he is sitting at God`s feet. John made this world a better place. Please let me know if their is anything we can do. We Love you guys.Through Christ we will be joined together again. Stay strong,lean on your faith.

  120. My success in life is in large part to John and Michelle. They never gave up on me when others told them to. They believed in who I was and guided me all through out my childhood. John was the real deal and about the only person who could really break through my many walls and bring my heart to God. I will never forget John and Michelle and how they changed my life. Thank you to both of you. RIP John.

  121. My success in life is in large part to John and Michelle. They never gave up on me when others told them to. They believed in who I was and guided me all through out my childhood. John was the real deal and about the only person who could really break through my many walls and bring my heart to God. I will never forget John and Michelle and how they changed my life. Thank you to both of you. RIP John.


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