Johnnie Lockett Thomas Passes
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 13 years ago
She passed away last night. That is all I know. I'm sure there will be further details on memorials and whether the wake will be held at the BHS again this year.
Top
Posted by Dan (+463) 13 years ago
damn...what very little I knew of her she was an incredible person - my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family/freinds...
Top
supporter
Posted by Bill Freese (+479) 13 years ago
Ouch! Goodness knows we knew it was coming, what with the second annual wake and all, but still, ouch. Many of us did not get to know her until pretty late in her life, but we are mighty glad we did even then.
Top
supporter
Posted by Cory Cutting (+1272) 13 years ago
WOW. I was so looking forward to BHS this year because I was going to make it a point to meet her. Very sad day.
Top
founder
supporter
sponsor
Posted by Hal Neumann (+9919) 13 years ago
Ah . . . well dang . . . I am truly sorry to hear this. I only knew Mrs. Thomas from her posts here and the emails we exchanged, but even so I came to learn that she was a very special person (and one heck of a historian). I am going to miss her.

My condolences to her family and loved ones.



Amorette, thank you for letting us know.
Top
Posted by Dana Jablinske (+97) 13 years ago
Very sad news. We sat by Johnnie and her daughter last year at BHS Quick Draw. There were so many people that stop to speak with her and give her a hug! She sat there and enjoyed watching and listening to her talented Son play wonderful music. I will never forget her smile.... she was so proud of him!!! If Miles City ever had a person that was considered royality it was Johnnie!!! My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends. Miles City has truly lost a wonderful person.

Dana & Family
Top
supporter
Posted by Bob L. (+5094) 13 years ago
My condolences to Johnnie's family and friends.
Top
supporter
Posted by howdy (+4943) 13 years ago
My condolences to Johnnie and her family. I really enjoyed her different posts and her writings. I hope her son gets that book published as I would love a copy.
Top
Posted by Roxanna Brush (+125) 13 years ago
Sorry to hear it. She will be missed. Thoughts and prayers.
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10001) 13 years ago
Wow. I'm sorry to hear that. Over the years she visited this web site -- Johnnie created 58 topics, and posted 335 replies. The last thing she wrote, on Jan. 4th, 2008, ended with "Thank you all for caring." At least some of her words and thoughts, and a glimpse into her personality and character will live on here. She touched many, even those who didn't get the chance to meet her in person. May she rest in peace, and I send my condolences to all of her family and friends. Goodbye Johnnie, it won't be the same without you.
Top
Posted by Jay (+281) 13 years ago
Sorry and sad for her passing. May God bless.

[This message has been edited by Jay (edited 2/1/2008).]
Top
supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 13 years ago
NO! NO! NO!


What a wonderfull person, I hope that she did not get to read the MLK post if she did it would break my heart.

Rest in Peace Johnnie you brought more to this town than anyone. Nobody changed the social fabric of our society more than you. God Bless You.
Top
Posted by Jared Bankey (+72) 13 years ago
A deceased loved one in God's hands
lives the fullness of 3 strands.
Three cords of love, faith and hope
weave a stronger bond than rope:
One lasting love, a braid of three,
God, my deceased ones and me.
May these 3 Strands unite as one
at home with God when time is done.

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story of strength and never give up attitude with this small community. You will be missed and your life will be celebrated. Thank you Mrs Thomas
Top
supporter
Posted by Dona Stebbins (+819) 13 years ago
This is such a sad time for those who love Miles City and Johnnie. I only spent time with her once, but we emailed back and forth, and I eagerly read her posts. What a wonderful human being she was, with a depth of wisdom and experience, and a tremendous ability to communicate and make you part of her world. We are all poorer for her loss. Johnnie, you will be missed.
Top
Posted by MR (+392) 13 years ago
She told us not to cry, oops. Can't wait to get her new book she just finished. Bye Johnnie.
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 13 years ago
Here's the story on Johnnie that was printed in the Star last night. I noticed they already have it up on the website.

http://milescitystar.com/...php#story1
Top
Posted by Carlos E. Davila (+45) 13 years ago
Farewell Johnnie. I hope to earn the privilege to meet you in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 13 years ago
Funeral is tentatively for Thursday. More details as I get them. I will miss her, no doubt about that!
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10001) 13 years ago
Assuming The Miles City Star doesn't mind, here is a copy of their story, posted for the purpose of archiving it online:

***

Friday, Feb. 1
Johnnie Lockett Thomas dies
By Denise Hartse

Johnnie Lockett Thomas, Miles City historian, author, supporter of the arts and honorary Emmy recipient, died Thursday afternoon, Jan. 31, 2008, in Holy Rosary Healthcare after a long battle with cancer.

Several years ago, Thomas learned that she had cancer and decided to stay in Miles City for her treatment. She made it through one bout with cancer, but later learned she had terminal cancer.

Thomas has said that she didn't know if she would have survived in the big city, reflecting on Miles City residents, their helpfulness and kindness. She took pride in surviving well past her doctors' prognosis.

Still strong in spirit at 75, Thomas was determined to embrace the time she had left. Since learning she had cancer a second time, she has been a guest at two wakes in her honor held around Bucking Horse Sale in mid-May. Her son, Eric, who plays in a band of highly acclaimed musicians, has brought several of his friends to perform for the event.

Thomas, who provided funding for the musicians' trips to Miles City, said she didn't want to pay for music she couldn't hear, so she was having her wakes while she could enjoy them.

On Independence Day, Thomas was parade marshal for the fourth annual Fourth of July Parade, and received an honorary Emmy in a surprise ceremony held in Riverside Park. Television producer John Twiggs, with KUFM-TV/Montana PBS at The University of Montana-Missoula, won two Northwest Regional Emmy awards for his work on the Montana PBS program "Backroads of Montana."

He enjoyed Thomas' appearance on the show and decided to share one of his Emmys, with Thomas' name on it, with her because of her generosity and willingness to tell her story.

"I know why I am here," Thomas said during her acceptance speech at the park. "I am here because of you and your generosity. I cannot tell you how grateful I am."

Earlier last year, Thomas also was named one of five recipients of the 2007 Montana Governor's Humanities Award. The awards were established by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1995, to honor achievement in humanities, scholarship and service, as well as enhancement of public understanding and appreciation of the humanities.

Thomas said that in Miles City she was treated like a native because the people remembered her husband, Bill "Bunky" Thomas.

He graduated from Custer County High School, and the couple returned to Miles City for his class reunions and stayed in touch with his classmates.

Mr. Thomas got sick in 1991, when they were living in northern New Jersey. He died in 1995, and the family took him to Miles City for burial.

Thomas said before leaving Miles City she saw an apartment for rent, and when she got back to New Jersey, she called and rented it, afterward dividing her time in New Jersey and Miles City. In 2002 she sold her New Jersey home and moved to Miles City permanently.

In 1996 she was invited to join the Speakers Bureau in Miles City and later joined the Montana Speakers Bureau. Her popularity grew, and she presented numerous historical programs about the Ursuline sisters, pioneer women and the Buffalo Soldiers stationed at Fort Keogh around the state.

Thomas was born in Talladega, Ala., and grew up in Tuskagee, Ala. She attended Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, and received a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama/speech.

She met her future husband, Bill Thomas, on a blind date. He had joined the Army and was stationed in Ft. Benning, Ga. On the couple's third date, he asked her to marry him. After their marriage, they visited Miles City for the first time and she met his family.

The couple lived in Europe, California, Washington, D.C., Maryland and New Jersey. They had three children, a son and two daughters, who have gone on to excel in fields such as music, language and law. She also was very proud of her two grandchildren.

"I had lots of opportunities," said Thomas. She was heavily involved in politics, and she met many politicians and even some movie stars. She also worked with the Smithsonian Institute.

Her adventures included being put on an FBI "no fly" master terrorist list because a wanted fugitive had used John Thomas Christopher as one of his aliases. An article about her adventure also appeared in the May 13, 2002, issue of "The New Yorker" magazine, and she was interviewed by several national media. Revealing her sense of humor, Thomas created a rap number about her flying adventures.

At the time of her death, Thomas had just finished her latest 300-page book titled "Growing Up Black in Montana," about her husband's life. She also wrote two other books, a children's book and one titled "Saints and Savages."

Shelley Freese, who assisted Thomas with getting her books ready for publication, said, "When she first told me she had cancer and I was feeling upset about it, she said, `Hey, I have had a fantastic life.' She was not bitter, she was thankful for everthing she had. She loved this place and the people and wanted us to write our history and have a voice."

Joe Whalen, mayor of Miles City, was out of town Friday, but he called to say, "Though I grieve the loss of a personal friend, I celebrate the remarkable life of Ms. Johnnie Lou Lockett Thomas. She is a cultural treasure of Miles City and an important Montana historian and an American heroine who has honorably and indelibly championed the cause of freedom from coast to coast, and leaves the world a more dignified place than she found it."

"The light that Johnnie brought to Miles City will dim during our mourning," said artist Tucker Bolton of Jabberwocky Studio. "The tempo of the music will slow, but the warm illumination and soft melody of Johnnie will never really end for those of us touched by her presence."

Kara Stewart, owner of Kafe Utza, said, "Her life was a celebration, but so was her death. She told me that `If anyone is going to cry at my funeral, I'll strangle them the night before.' Her body was weak, but her spirit was strong through the entire battle."

"Johnnie Thomas became a strong voice in her community from the start," said Mark Browning, director of the Custer County Art and Heritage Center. "Sensing her family's long attachment here, she has been generous with all of her resources and talents to contribute back, especially in the arts and history areas. We feel both a sense of loss and enrichment because of her."

"Like everyone else, we consider ourselves lucky to have met and spent some time with Johnnie," said producer John Twiggs after learning of her death. "I'm determined to keep smiling when I think about her (and not be sad), because I don't want to face Johnnie's wrath in the after-life!"

And as Thomas always said, "Life is too short not to do what you want to."

Funeral services for Thomas are pending in Miles City.

***

Source: The Miles City Star (http://www.milescitystar.com/)
Date: Feb. 1, 2008
Top
Posted by Eric Brandt (+844) 13 years ago
Reflection on the life of Johnnie Lockett Thomas. A video memorial.

http://www.milescityvoice...ticleId=10
Top