On August 23rd the SLC3 honored the late Jack Thomas Jr. Fran Wiggins (St. Louis Lambert Airport) and Nate Adams (St. Louis County) shared some words about Jack along with his obituary provided by his wife, Cheryl Thomas. Jack was involved with SLC3 over the years and more recently was the Membership Chair, and Executive Committee Member and the Board Member representing St. Louis County. Jack was honored with the Legacy Award for his relentless pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion. He is deeply missed by all who knew him.
Jack Lee Thomas, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 11, 1949 to the late
Jack Thomas, Sr. and late Ruth (Woodard) Thomas.
Jack was baptized in the Catholic Church at an early age while attending St. Englebert Catholic School in St. Louis. He excelled at DeAndreis High School academically and as a basketball player. His basketball skills resulted in a four-year basketball scholarship to Kansas State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science.
Jack’s career path included 18 years as a City of St Louis employee which included Assistant Airport Director for Community Programs; Acting Director, Department of Contract Compliance; and DBE Program Manager.
His work passion was to maximize opportunities for minority/woman owned/disadvantaged (M/W/DBE) businesses to participate and receive compensation according to government guidelines. He was relentless and unwilling to compromise on his efforts.
Jack took pride in mentoring individuals showing an interest in M/W/DBE contracting whether in the aviation or government sectors. His efforts resulted in the following awards:
- Airport Minority Advisory Council, President’s Award (2018).
- Louis Minority Contractors Association, Lifetime Achievement Award (2018).
- Airports Council International-North America, Inclusion Champion for Small Airports (2016).
- Our Mississippi Champion of Diversity (2016).
- Mississippi Minority Contractors Association, Advocate of the Year (2012).
- Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Public Sector Excellence (2009).
- Jackson Chapter of the NAACP, Public Sector Excellence (2009).
- Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Civil Rights, Best DBE Program at a United States Airport (2006).
His work experience allowed him to live in Jackson, Mississippi; Nashville, Tennessee;
St. Louis, Missouri; and finally Houston, Texas. However, he remained a proud son of the Penrose area of St. Louis!
One of Jack’s favorite activities was face timing his grandchildren. He was always proud to hear of their academic milestones in school or extracurricular activities. A personal visit with his children and grandchildren was the ultimate gift.
Jack was an avid cyclist. Wherever he lived, a requirement was that his home be near a bicycle trail. It was only fitting that he took his final cycling ride in Memorial Park on Father’s Day,
June 18, 2023 in Houston, Texas.
Jack’s absence is mourned by his wife, Cheryl Prince Thomas; his four children, Kareem, Marcus (Madelyn), Jamil and Christian. He also leaves six grandchildren, Kennedy, Marcus Jr., Elijah, Ameira, Cairo, and Xander; a sister, Barbara Smith; and two nephews, Ameir and Yashim Smith.
A host of family and friends throughout the United States and its territories also mourn his passing.