Dr. Elijah Naymond Thomas was born in Woodville, Oklahoma to the late Elijah Thomas and Lillian Owens.
He grew up in Oklahoma and received his early schooling there. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Louisville where he received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree. He continued his education and received a Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado.
He then served in the U.S. Army briefly before beginning a career of singing and teaching music. His singing career took him all over the USA and internationally. In 1976, he began teaching at University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Prior to his moving to Mississippi, he had performed several roles with Opera South, a Mississippi Opera Company based at Jackson State University.
It was during one of the visits to perform with Opera South that he met the love of his life, Janie. They were married on December 20, 1980. In 1981, he left the University of Southern Mississippi to become the general manager of Opera South, a company in Mississippi where he had performed several times. On November 5, 1983, their first child, Joseph was born. He continued to work as the general manager of Opera South until the summer of 1984. It was then that Naymomd made the decision to return to school to complete his doctorate degree. In the fall of 1984, he began attending the University of Oklahoma working on his doctorate of musical arts degree. He completed the course work in the spring of 1987 and began writing his dissertation. He and Janie and Joseph moved to Cibolo, Texas in late summer of 1987. Naymond began working at Southwest Texas State University, ( now Texas State University). During his first year there, he completed his dissertation and receceived his doctorate of musical arts degree in May, 1988. He continued to work at what is now Texas State Universitiy and continued to sing at various events. He sang the National Athem at one of the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) games, as well the opening for one of the San Antonio Spurs games. On June 11, 1991, their second child, Matthew was born. Shortly after Matthew was born, Naymond joined Cibolo Valley Baptist Church and was baptized by Dr. Kyle Cox. He often sang at church and in February of 1993, he did a concert of spirituals for Black History month. Each year for Easter he sang “Were you There” at the sonrise service. Naymond continued teaching and singing until he retired in 2014. Even after retirement he continued to sing whenever he was called upon. His melodious Bass voice was enjoyed by everyone who heard it.
Heaven has gained a wonderful voice in the heavenly choir. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, James and Harold.
He leaves to cherish his memories, a loving and caring wife, Janie, two wonderful sons, Joseph Aaron and Matthew Allen, and a host of colleagues and friends. He will certainly be missed, but we know we shall see him again on the other side.
A visitation has been schedule for Friday, January 29, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Peoples Funeral Home, 886 North Farish Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39202.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Peoples Funeral Home Chapel, 886 North Farish Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39202 with burial at Autumn Woods Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi..
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