Jeri Thomas was born June 4, 1944 (and, as she was quick to add) two days before D-Day. She was taken home to be with the Lord on August 16, 2022, with her husband, Warren, close at her side.
Jeri’s parents were Jack and Dorothy Jones, both of whom preceded her. Children born to Jeri and Johnny Horton were Darin Horton of Rush Springs and Destry Horton, a firefighter, who was fatally injured in a tragic
fire in 2006.
In fact, allow me to share what Jeri wrote, somewhat prophetically, just two years ago.
“I miss my son Destry. It has been 14 years, and as most mothers would say after such a loss, I miss him every day and never forget his smile, hugs, sense of humor, an infectious laugh... and so very much more. His faith was first, his family second. He loved everyone, helped everyone and never missed an opportunity to show the love of Jesus. His youngest daughter McKenzie is in Heaven with him and I’m certain they are singing God’s praises. Destry was Praise Leader in his church on the Sundays he was not at the firehouse. I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so I know I will see my son and granddaughter soon. God bless all firefighters and keep them safe.”
Her loving and nurturing nature was indispensable to her mother (MeMa, as she was affectionately known) and her father in helping to rear her four younger siblings, Steve, Janel, Betty Jean, and Justin. Anyone who truly knew her, knew that those qualities defined Jeri Thomas.
See if these resonate with you: loving unconditionally, generous, non-judgmental, a kind and sweet spirit, easily approachable, humble, grateful, and empathetic (defined as “the capacity to enter into and participate in another’s feelings”). Do I hear an Amen?
Jeri graduated from Rush Springs High School and went on to complete her degree at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. She then taught English Literature, including Shakespeare, at Norman High School. Driven by her business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit, Jeri began a life-long career in commercial real estate, ultimately starting her own company.
The dye had been cast. As a child, Jeri was Shirley Temple incarnate, stunningly beautiful – inside and out; as a teenager, she was Rush Springs pre-eminent Watermelon Queen (in other words, royalty in Rush Springs, Oklahoma) and that infectious, contagious beauty would continue right to the end of her life. She was beloved at MD Anderson Hospital, where she and Warren have practically lived in a small hospital room since February, 2022. The same was true with her neighborhood friends in Houston, just like her beloved church family in Lexington, Oklahoma.
Jeri married Warren Thomas in December of 2000 at the First Baptist Church of Washington D.C., their absolute favorite part of the country. Anyone who knew them was aware of how in love and deeply committed Jeri and Warren were to each other and their blended family. They were bound by their commitment to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His word, the Bible, which they read entirely every year of their marriage. They together read a chapter of the Proverbs nearly every night before they went to sleep. Warren would remind Jeri on or about the 31st of every month that she was the embodiment of the Proverbs 31 woman: she had an innate “sixth sense” mind for business, cared personally for the well-being of her employees just as she did her household; her children (and grandchildren) would rise up and call her blessed; and though obviously and profoundly beautiful, Jeri was forever humble and self-effacing when reminded of her beauty and tell how the Bible admonishes that “charm is deceitful and outward beauty is fleeting – BUT a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Warren readily acknowledges that any business and financial success attributed to him would not have been possible were it not for what the Bible refers to as their one flesh – with his partner and wife, Jeri.
Together with Warren, and after losing two sons and a granddaughter during their years of marriage, Jeri has temporarily left her devoted husband, Warren, and her dear family – just as the Lord would define family with the firm conviction that one day – yes one glorious day – there will be a reuniting of those we cherished and loved only to become separated for a season that given eternity is but for a short while. And that ever-present hope and confidence is what helps sustain us from day to day – especially when our loved ones’ absence is so unspeakably painful and raw.
In addition to her husband, Warren, Jeri leaves behind son, Darin, of Rush Springs, four siblings and their spouses, two sons and a daughter from their larger, blended family, and numerous cherished grandchildren (who affectionately refer to her as ‘ChiChi’) and many nieces and nephews. Jeri’s extended family includes nearly innumerable cousins and friends – most of whom would testify that she had a God-given gift for making them feel as though they were her favorite. Until we meet again, we will always love and miss you!
A Celebration of Jeri’s Life will be held on October 22, 2022, at First Baptist Church, 900 E. Broadway St., Lexington, Oklahoma. If you plan to attend this event, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 9, 2022.