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Franklin Thomas, 1943-2020

Franklin James Thomas, 77, of Lake Wales passed away Thursday, Sept. 9 at his residence in Lake Wales.

He was born August 2, 1943, in Middleburg, FL to the late Lafayette “Fid” and Ellen (Matschat) Thomas. He has been a resident of this area since the late 1970s moving here from Eagle Lake. He was a production manager for a canvas manufacturer. He was an Army Veteran in Vietnam and was on The Grand Ol’ Opry circuit as the front man for the band Arkansas Travelers. He played with gospel groups and was a very talented songwriter. He is an inductee in The 2013 Florida Artists Hall of Fame, the greatest honor the state can bestow on a citizen.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ann Thomas; sister, Blanche Revels and brother, Lafayette Thomas, Jr. Survivors include his wife of 14 years, Irene “Lisa” Thomas; sons, Michael Oshaane Thomas of Lakeland, FL and Kyle Bailey and his wife Raquel of Lake Wales; sister, Vivian Thomas of Middleburg, FL and 2 grandchildren, Kaden and Levi.

There are no services planned at this time. Marion Nelson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


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