Earl Russell Thomas was born to overcome the odds when he came into this world on July 1st 1943 as a full term, 2-pound newborn in Schriever, Louisiana (a Terrebonne Parish native) to the late Julius and Laura Paul Thomas. They had to carry him around in a shoebox to make sure he was not swished! He grew up to eventually be 6’1”.
An outgoing person from a young age, he loved recounting stories of the fun he had being mischievous with his sister Laura, learning to drive, at 14 from his older brother, Teddy, playing football for his high school team, and following around his mother and father learning his earliest life lessons at their knee.
He was baptized as a teen, at Mt. Olive BC in Gray, Louisiana by the late Rev. AJ Pharr with his childhood friend and later brother-in-law, Berwick Hayes. His membership was faithful until he relocated to Texas. However, when visiting home, he would attend services by taking a “brisk walk” to church as he would refer to it. Later in life, he was known for his daily, 2–5-mile walks all over the neighborhood and his daughter dubbed him “The Roamer”, a name he cherished as it was embroidered on his jacket. He would roam an area and end up spending hours talking to everyone he came across as if he had known them forever.
A proud graduate of Southdown High School, he went on to study at Grambling University and eventually finished his education at Texas Southern where he obtained his Bachelors in Business Administration. He was a salesman by nature and trade, he realized that he did not want to continue to lose out on commissions because he could not speak Spanish. He focused and taught himself to become fluent by watching the novelas and listening to the Spanish language news. He worked his way up the ranks and retired from Continental Airlines as the supervisor of the Spanish reservation line. His benefits at the airlines allowed him the ability to travel the world and he enjoyed multiple countries including Spain, Venezuela and Nicaragua. He was a voracious reader and could converse and give statistics on many historical facts and current events.
At Grambling, he met Betty Brooks and to this union was born a daughter, Sonya and a son, Shawn. This marriage ended and he later met and married Flora Tiggs and he took on the honor of helping to raise her daughter, Chiquita and they were blessed with another daughter, Monica. This marriage ended and he married Lynda Albert and was blessed with another son, Earl Jr. He is also father to Hannah Laura.
He is survived by his loving wife, Victoria Carolina, his sons Shawn (Tene) Thomas of Houston, Texas, Earl Russell Thomas Jr. of Lake Charles, Louisiana; daughters Sonya Thomas of Houston, Texas, Chiquita (Mark) Hartfield of Bryan, Texas, Monica (Jason) Duncan of Hockley, Texas, Hannah Laura Thomas of Mexico City, Mexico, Diana (John) Lawson of San Francisco, Alina (Oscar) Velasquez of Quebec, Canada and Tania Fajardo of Managua, Nicaragua; his sister, Laura T. Lee of Gray, Louisiana; his grand-children, Ashley Hernandez, Mark Hartfield, Jr., Lafayette Thomas, Joshua Hartfield, Jalen Duncan, Jacob Hartfield, Jordan Duncan, Jason Duncan, Blake Thomas, Alexandra Broadbent and Patricia Vance, Oscar and Cristina Miranda and Ellie Huete; a host of nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.
Proceeding Earl in death were his parents, Julius and Laura Paul Thomas; siblings, Warren Thomas Sr., Ulysses Thomas Sr., Jules (Teddy) Thomas, Wilbert Thomas Sr., Naomi T. Jack, Ruth T. Franklin, Otis C. Thomas and Evelyn Audrey Mart.
The family would like acknowledge:
The many friends and family who helped us organize this day: Integrity Funeral Home and Metoyer-Roy Printing