Firefighters and others remembered retired Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Thomas for his dedication during his 25 years of service.

Thomas, a native of Philadelphia, died Wednesday, May 13 in Jackson. He was 59.

His funeral service was Saturday in Bloomfield Cemetery at Bloomo. The funeral procession passed under a large flag flown from Philadelphia Fire Department and Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Fire Department ladder trucks. There was a strong gathering at the cemetery as peers turned out to pay their respects,

Thomas retired from the Philadelphia Fire Department in 2018. He also raised chickens on a farm in Neshoba County.

“When I started with the fire service in 2006, he was my deputy chief,” said fireman Darnell Dawkins. “He was a father figure, always there when I needed him.

He always said do you best, do your job and try not to make any mistakes.”

Philadelphia Fire Chief Pierce Clark said Thomas was well respected by his peers. “He was a longtime fireman who truly loved the fire service,” Clark said. “You knew what you had with him. He was a good guy, somebody you could count on.

“He was always looking out for his men. He made sure they had what they needed and were well trained.”

Thomas served in the Air National Guard for 23 years and went overseas with the 186th Refueling Wing in 2002 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as Election Commissioner for Neshoba County, District 3, and from 2004-2006 he was the president of the Election Commissioners Association of Mississippi. 

He served on the Neshoba County Fair Board for the past 11 years. He and his wife have been growing chickens for Tyson Foods for over 20 years.

He was a member of Trinity Baptist Church and served as a deacon. He loved his Lord, his family, church and country.

Survivors include wife, Jane Thomas, of Philadelphia; son, Steven M. Thomas II, of Hudson, NH; daughter, Rachel Thomas, of Jonesboro, AR; parents, Wallace and Peggy Thomas, of Philadelphia; sister, Stephanie Perry (Dan), of Philadelphia; and several nieces and nephews.