Thursday, January 26, 2006

Small Town, Big Heart

I had almost forgotten how tight knit small towns were until a recent tragedy struck our family, and my Uncle Sidney was killed in a tragic bulldozer accident last weekend. Our family was overwhelmed by the love and support of the community. There were literally several thousand people who stood in line during the family visitation (which lasted over 3 hours), and over 1,000 at the funeral the next day. You know you live in a small town when the local Burger King even places a sympathy message on their marqee. It was a great comfort during a time of such great loss to see so many people express their love and concern for our family. Here is the obituary from the Florida Times Union (Jacksonville)

Thomas, Sidney Eugene

THOMAS Sidney Eugene Thomas, 58, of Callahan, Fl., died unexpectedly on January 21, 2006. Sidney was a lifelong resident of Callahan. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend who will be sorely missed. He was currently employed at Stateline Disposal as the General Manager. Stateline Disposal evolved from Nassau Sanitation Service, a company that Sidney founded with his brother Wayne. The company grew from a small, two man operation into one of the largest sanitation companies in Northeast Florida. Sidney was a member of a large family. He was predeceased by his mother Jewel Thomas, his father Willie Thomas, and two brothers Irvin and Leslie Thomas. He is survived by his wife of 38 years Joyce Ambrose Thomas, two daughters Ceryle (Claud) Freeburn and Michelle (Brian) Wright, three brothers Warren (Ellyne) Thomas, Hardy (Lila) Thomas, Wayne (Danielle) Thomas, one sister Gloria Thomas, five grandchildren Jordan and Jenna Freeburn and Reagan, Walker andBrady Wright, two aunts Louella Jones and Zula Courson, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Sidney was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. When he wasn't working, he enjoyed spending time with his family and could always be found at any athletic events or activities in which his grandchildren participated. He left a large number of friends, family members, and co-workers who enjoyed his sense of humor and his compassionate spirit. He was only here for a short time, but he made a huge impact on many lives. Sidney's family will receive visitors from 6pm-9pm on Tuesday, January 24, at the First Baptist church of Callahan in the sanctuary. Funeral services will be held at 11am on Wednesday, January 25, at the First Baptist Church of Callahan. Interment will follow in Jones Cemetery, Callahan. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to the Sidney Thomas Vocational Ministry Scholarship fund in care of First Baptist Church of Callahan, P.O. Box 605, Callahan, FL. 32011. Arrangements by Callahan Funeral Home, Inc. Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com originally published in the Florida Times-Union from 1/24/2006 - 1/25/2006.