Michael EmeryThomas was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the first born child of Seymour and Pamela Thomas. He grew up in what he lovingly described as the mountains of Jamaica, in the town of Mandeville. After finishing high school he lived in Toronto, then Tampa, before yielding to the magnetic pull of Gainesville in the early 1980’s. Here he would find love and belonging in a community that could not resist his magnetism. Bringing with him his fierce love of Jamaica and reggae music, he danced his way into our lives. Gainesville soon became a second home.
His insatiable curiosity took him down many paths. He worked at the UF veterinary school for several years and was a natural healer of the horses he cared for both before and after surgery. He was accepted in to UF’s veterinary school, but life had other plans for Michael.
His most important role was as parent to his three children. He cared for them when they were small, and made it his life’s work to teach them about the world. He was their “Papa”- intelligent, mindful, ever-loving, brilliant, and heartical (his word, for being of the heart.)
Michael studied and became licensed as an acupuncture physician. He was a natural teacher and a gifted healer who could bring warmth and comfort with nothing more than his rich, baritone voice and eruptive chuckle. If you lent him your ear you might never get it back, but if you stuck around you were sure to be in for a monologue that would meander through a maze of verbosity to reach some indubitably profound destination.
Michael lived for several years in Oakland, Ca before moving back to Florida in 2012. He had very recently moved to St.Augustine, Florida, where he left this world, peacefully, in his sleep, on October 23.
Michael was predeceased by his father, Seymour. He will live on in the hearts of his three children- Zachary, Maia, and William Stefan, his mother, Pamela Thomas, brothers Gordon (Shelley), Christopher and Richard (Charmaine); sister Gillian (Jeremy), his love Venessa Maxwell, and numerous nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by numerous other relatives and friends.
Adored brother. Cherished Papa. Eternal Rasta.
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