Ellis Duane ThomasDecember 13, 2017
On September 26, 1959, a very precious gift was presented to Ernest and Ruby Thomas, Ellis Duane Thomas. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, became known to many by his middle name, Duane. Although Duane was the sixth child born to his parents, he was the youngest of the three children to survive. After losing his mother at the young age of ten years old and later, his father, he was cared for by his Uncle Bo and Aunt Nancy (Sylvester and Nancy Brown). To him, Uncle Bo and Aunt Nancy were second parents whom he loved dearly.
Duane was educated in the Birmingham School systems, having attended Patterson Elementary and Woodlawn High Schools. After graduation he took classes at both Bessemer Technical and Jefferson State Colleges. Duane then relocated to Denver, Colorado, where he resided with his brother, Kenneth and family. It was from there that he attended the Job Corps where he acquired his trades and technical skills in brick masonry, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing. After working in Colorado for a while, Duane became interested in and joined the U.S. Navy, where he remained for several years until his retirement. Among his many assignments, Duane proudly served aboard the USS Sylvania during Desert Storm. While in the Navy, having made it a career, Duane received the following awards, and certificates:
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; Navy Unit Commendation; Southwest Asia Medal;
National Defense Service Medal; Navy Expeditionary Medal; Humanitarian
Service Medal; Kuwait Liberation Medal; Letter of Commendation; The Battle Efficiency
Being the humble man that he was and that we loved, he never spoke of or bragged about any of his achievements.
Duane was committed and dedicated to his home church, Jackson Street Baptist. He often told his brother, “I don’t like speaking in front of people, and I don’t need to be heard or seen, I just want to serve in the background with the things that I know how to do.”
Duane was also dedicated to his family, especially his loving wife, Clara, whom he loved and enjoyed teasing. Duane is survived by and will be greatly missed by his wife, Clara; sons: Rodrell (Tamika), Mark (Michelle), and Von; Grandchildren: Markaysha, Antonio, Mia, Amarie, Michael, and Ellis; Great-Granddaughter: Heaven. His memories will always be cherished by his sister, Ernestine; brother, Kenneth; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.