John “Johnny”/ “JT” Thomas, 74, Rochester, passed away at 7:27 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, at his residence, after a courageous battle with liver disease. He was surrounded by his loving family as he was welcomed into Heaven.
He was born on Aug. 31, 1946, in Berrien Springs, Michigan the son of John Monroe and Jessie Elizabeth (Groves) Thomas. On Aug. 1, 1987, in Rochester, he married the love of his life, Sandra Pugh and she survives.
John, a man of many talents and trades had been a truck driver, worked for Rochester Metals and his most treasured occupation had been as sexton for Odd Fellows Cemetery, Rochester. A man of God, he had attended Rochester Church of God where he enjoyed teaching Sunday School and Wednesdaynight bible study. He enjoyed playing the guitar and singing, drawing, fishing and camping. He was always ready for a “roadtrip” with his wife and looked forward to trips to Menards to simply browse the aisles. He was known as the “Neighborhood Grandpa” sitting on his front porch visiting with neighbors and conversing with any passerby out and about. He enjoyed grabbing his favorite Dunkin Donuts cake donuts and coffee and taking long drives in the country every Tuesday with his daughter, stopping to talk to every cow and horse they passed by. He was known for being a man of great advice and always looked forward to the frequent phone calls he received from his son. The most cherished part of his life was simply being a family man. To know him was to love him and he spent his time with those that loved him the most.
Survivors include his wife, Sandra Thomas, Rochester; children, Derek John (Christina) Thomas, Peru; Jessica Louann (Jason) Urbin, Rochester; Lonnie Thomas, Michigan, Tammy Anders, Mich.; grandchildren, Brayden John Thomas, Peru; Emma Audrey Marie Thomas, Peru; Sophia Louann Urbin, Rochester; Macie Jo Urbin, Rochester; Caleb Thomas, Mikayla Thomas, Cynthia Moody, sisters, Janet (Jerry) Beaird, Rochester; FayAnn (Alton) Mitchell, Princeton, Ky.; “Neighborhood son and daughter” Jeremy and Kellie Jo Swango, Rochester, “Neighborhood Grandchildren”, Elizabeth, Noah, Aaron and Eli Swango, all of Rochester; feline friend, Annie Lou and canine friend, Lucy Lou.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and four sisters and five brothers, and one grandchild, and canine pals, Buffy Lou and Baby Bear Bear.
Friends may call or visit from 4-8 p.m., Thursday at Zimmerman Bros. Funeral Home, Rochester. State guide lines for COVID-19, including mask wearing, social distancing, and a limited amount of visitors allowed in the facility will be followed. Private services will be observed. Public graveside services will be conducted at approximately 10:45 a.m. Friday Dec. 18, at Odd Fellows Cemetery, Rochester.