S. Philip “Phil” Thomas Jr., 73, of Indianapolis, passed away June 24, 2019. He was born on August 25, 1945, in Somers Point, NJ to Samuel Philip “Sam” Thomas Sr. and Rosalie Fullagar Thomas.
Through the faithful teaching of his mother, Phil learned early the truth of Proverbs 3: 5-6 and put his confidence in his Savior. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
Phil was a graduate of Millville High School, where he played saxophone in the band. He also enjoyed playing soccer. In 1967 he graduated with a degree in business from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.
Phil served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, rising to the rank of Sergeant.
In 1968 Phil met Karen, the love of his life, in Cape May, NJ. They married on March 27, 1970. Three daughters followed. Though he joked about being outnumbered by women in the family, Phil lovingly cared for and led them.
While working for city government in Oakland Park, FL, Phil believed God called him to full-time Christian ministry in 1977. He moved with his family to Indiana and began working with the Ron Comfort Evangelistic Team as well as faithfully serving in Grace Baptist Church of Anderson. There he willingly and humbly accepted any service opportunity God gave him—song leading, teaching in the school, and working with the Jolly Keenagers, a senior citizens ministry.
In 1985 Phil became the business manager of Colonial Hills Baptist Church of Indianapolis. He consistently sought to be diligent in this stewardship. A year later, he began a ministry specifically for the senior members of the church and named the group Senior Saints. He and Karen enjoyed traveling with them to faraway places including Alaska, Hawaii, England, Israel, and the Canadian Rockies as well as attending local events like Symphony on the Prairie. Phil cherished his pastoral ministry to the Seniors, saying “it has always been a joy to walk with these seasoned saints and see their solid faith and trust in God through different difficulties.” He learned from them, prayed with them, and comforted them. Phil and his wife Karen would often drop everything to rush to the side of Senior Saints in need.
Phil also had a special love for missionaries. He looked forward to missions week each year and to seeing God provide as church members pledged support in the annual Faith Promise. He faithfully prayed for the church’s missionaries and was honored to be able to help meet their specific material needs and encourage them when they visited.
During his years of ministry, Phil took on various responsibilities that made him the go-to guy for bus maintenance, security, the school cafeteria, facilities management, and information technology.
In 2015, after 30 years of ministry at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, Phil retired. But his service was not over. As he frequently told the Senior Saints, “We are not retired, but retreaded. We just keep on keeping on,” so he held fast to the faith and continued to encourage others.
In addition to his parents, Phil was preceded in death by his sister-in-law Lynn (Rudderow) Thomas.
Phil is survived by his wife of 49 years, Karen Thibideau Thomas; daughters, Joy Thomas, Jennifer (Scott) Matthews, and Jodi Thomas; brothers, Ken Thomas and Don (Terri) Thomas; and many other loving family and friends.
Family and friends will gather for visitation on Friday, June 28 from 4 to 7 pm at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, 8140 Union Chapel Road, Indianapolis. A memorial service will be held at the same location on Saturday, June 29 at 11 am with visitation one hour prior to service.
A Committal Service will follow in the Union Chapel Cemetery, Indianapolis.
In memory of Phil, donations may be made to the Faith Promise Missions Fund of Colonial Hills Baptist Church, 8140 Union Chapel Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46240, and NeuroHope, 6002 Sunnyside Rd, Indianapolis, IN, 46236, a non-profit rehabilitation facility that specializes in neurologic recovery from spinal injury, brain injury, and stroke. Envelopes will be available at the service.
Bussell Family Funerals, Carmel-Westfield is privileged to assist the family in arrangements.
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