April 6, 1934 – February 5, 2021
Aurealius (Reedy) Thomas was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on April 6, 1934. He was preceded in death by his mother Magdalene (Vaughn) Thomas, father LeRoy Thomas, Sr., and his six siblings Elzata (Thomas) Fowlkes, Lois (Thomas) Carlock, LeRoy L. Thomas, Jr., Vernon W. Thomas, Donald U. Thomas, and Maurice A. Thomas.
He attended Dunbar and Douglas Grade Schools and Manual Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He developed his basic beliefs regarding home, church, school, life, and football through his valuable Muskogee, Oklahoma experiences. Those experiences proved to be an valuable asset. During the Fall of 1950, he became a Manual Training High School “Bulldog” starting right tackle on Manual’s state championship football team. He left Muskogee in 1951 to continue his education in Columbus, Ohio.
He graduated from Columbus West High School, June of 1953. He participated in track, football, and student council, receiving All-Ohio football honors in 1952. Aurealius attended and graduated from The Ohio State University in 1958 with a B.S. degree in Education with a major in Health. While in college, he played football and earned All Big Ten and All-American in 1957. He was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1989. He was a member of two Ohio State University Buckeyes National Championship Football teams (1954 & 1957) led by the Legendary Coach Woody Hayes.
His past employment opportunities include playing with the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers (1958) Assistant Football Coach with The Ohio State University (1958), Columbus City Schools Science, Health, and Driver’s Education Teacher (1959-96); Central High School, Assistant Basketball and Football Coach (1959-61) East High School, Head Football Coach (1961-65), selected Central Ohio Coach of the Year (1964). New York Life Insurance Company Broker 1965-96.
His community involvement included Frontiers International, Inc. and Columbus Leadership Conference (past coordinator). His religious involvement included Sunday School Teacher and Assistant Superintendent at St. Paul A.M.E. Church (Columbus, Ohio). Aurealius was the past President and Vice President of The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department; member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; The Ohio State University Alumni Association; Trustee of The Ohio State University Student Loan Foundation, Board of the ECCO Development Corporation; Advisor to the Small Business Administration for the southern half of Ohio; volunteer for The United Negro College Fund; and member of the Board of Ridgeway Nursing Home.
Aurealius was the recipient of numerous awards and honors including: recipient of The Black History Award for exemplifying his works of “Life Against the Odds”; and 1990 Special Recognition Award by the Columbus Area Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG).
He is survived by his children Marcus (Jacqueline) Thomas, Scott (Dana) Thomas, Leah (Brian) Thomas-Marshall, grandchildren LaShawna, Deja, Brian Jr., Camille, Barrington, Yisak, Jebril, former wife Nancy, best friend John Wallace and a host of great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Aurealius Thomas, please visit our floral store.