Jeff Lamar Thomas, pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Sylacauga, died Aug. 1. He was 79.
Thomas, a Samford University graduate, served more than 50 years in ministry. Bon Air Baptist was his first pastorate in 1970, and it was his last pastorate — he served there for the past decade and preached the Sunday service preceding his death.
He also served other churches in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, including 10 years at Ridgeview Baptist in Talladega and 12 years at Hopewell Baptist in Bessemer.
When Thomas celebrated his 50th anniversary in ministry in 2020, he reminisced on his call and how he drove to a mountain to spend time with God.
“I really needed some assurance,” he said in 2020. “I said, ‘If You’ll just assure me, I’ll stay in the ministry as long as You’ll let me.’ And God did. That word of encouragement that He gave to me on the mountain got me through the ups and downs of the years.”
Thomas is survived by his wife, Carolyn; sons Jeff Jr. and Aaron; daughter Donna; and six grandchildren.