Haywood Lee Thomas was born on April 13, 1938, to Ardie M. Thomas and James Monroe Barkley in the Springfield Community. At an early age, his mother relocated to Marianna, Florida in what was then known as Daffin Bottom. He attended Jackson County Training Elementary School and Jackson County Training High School where he excelled in academics and was well known as a super basketball and football player. He and his best friend, who also played, were inseparable, and after finishing high school, the two friends, affectionately known as “Sugar” and “Honey,” decided to further their education by attending Florida Memorial College. Haywood was fortunate to receive a full scholarship to play football. After leaving Florida Memorial College, he relocated to Washington, D.C. for a while before returning home. Upon returning to Marianna, he was employed by Florida School for Boys for a short time, but had to leave that employment when he was called to serve his country in the United States Army. In 1963, after completing his tour of duty, he returned and reclaimed his position at Florida School For Boys as a House Parent and Supervisor 1 where he would remained for forty years.
He met the former Callie Mary Long and the two were united in Holy Matrimony on April 9, 1966. To this union, three children were born: Shasma Y. Thomas, Haywood Lee Thomas, Jr., and James A. Thomas. The two settled down and raised their children in a strong Christian environment and became active and dedicated citizens of this community.
Haywood united with New Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church at a young age and served as a member of the Senior Choir; he later became a Sunday School Teacher and Sunday School Superintendent. Under the pastorate of Reverend Rollie Murray, Jr., Haywood was ordained and served faithfully in the role of a deacon at New Mount Olive. In the year 2000, under the spiritual leadership of the Reverend Robert Wooden, Haywood was elevated to Chairman of the Deacon Board. In addition, Haywood worked tirelessly as a member of the Church Program Committee, Director of the Sunday School and Director of Vacation Bible School until his health began to fail. In 2023, the Reverend Gregory Gathers and the church honored him for his years of service to the church and made him Chairman Emeritus of the Deacons Ministry.
On Saturday, January 27, 2024, after asking the Lord to “hold” his hand, he was finally called by God from labor to reward. Haywood Lee Thomas slipped away to be with the Lord.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers: Hercules Pyles and Allen Thomas, Frank, Tommy and James, Jr. Barkley; his Sisters, Ernestine Young and Dorothy McNeal, and his beloved daughter, Shasma Y. Thomas Baptiste.
He leaves to cherish his memories of a life well lived: his beloved and devoted wife of 57 years, Callie Mary Long Thomas; sons, Haywood Thomas, Jr (Michon) and James Thomas (Kimonetia) of Atlanta, Georgia; grand children, Damien, Dominique, Dadrianna and Kennedi Thomas, all of Atlanta, Georgia; Justin Thomas of Houston, Texas , Courtney Merritt of Clarksville, Tennessee, Michael and Christian Ford of Tallahassee, Florida, and James Ford Baptiste of New York ; great grandchildren Dexter Khalil Thomas of Atlanta, Georgia, Christian Cole and Melania Thomas of Clarksville, Tennessee; sisters, Eulice J. Bryant (Elmore) of Marianna, Florida and Daisy Green (Charles) of Thonotosassa, Florida; sisters-in-law; Lutissue Pyles of Tallahassee, Juanita Thomas of Silver Springs, Maryland and Naomi Clemmons of Fort Pierce, Florida; two God daughters, Latesha Green Simms of Riverview, Florida and Rotaya Mikell Cobb of Ocoee, Florida, and a host of nieces, nephews, and other close relatives and friends.
Funeral Service for Decon Haywood Thomas Sr. Age 85 of Mariana, Florida.
Will be held 11:00 AM, Saturday February 10, 2024 at New Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Mariana, Florida, with Reverend Gregory E. Gather, Reverend Freddie Roulhac, Reverend D. J. Johnson, and Reverend Travis Ephrian officiating.
Intermit will follow in the Buckhorn Church Cemetery.
Visitation will be held Friday February 9, 2024 at New Olive Baptist Church, from 4pm to 6 pm .
Haywood will lay in state at the church from 10:00 am Saturday until time for the service at 11:00 Am.