Charles Thomas, III

Obituary of Charles Curtis Thomas, III

CUYAHOGA FALLS - Charles Curtis Thomas, III, 56, went to be with his Lord and Savior September 3, 2021. How grateful and blessed we are for the life of Curtis. Born in Akron, OH, Curtis was a lifetime area resident. He attended Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, graduating in 1983. Curtis earned degrees from Kent State University and Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia Biblical University). Curtis served the homeless by working at Haven of Rest Ministries, enjoying his responsibilities as Director of Operations from 2003-2020. He and his family worshipped at and have been surrounded by support from Hope Community Church in Hudson. Curtis was fiercely devoted to Tina, Julia, Eileen and Valerie as well as his extended family and his staff at Haven of Rest Ministries. He loved them well and they loved him. He had a servant’s heart; a pleasant, quick wit; and was a wise, quiet observer; always thinking and questioning. He never stopped learning and growing in his faith and daily life. He had an inner tenacious spirit and drive. Curtis was very content with simple pleasures, reading several books at once, listening to music, studying the Bible, praying with Tina, trying a new cooking skill or recipe, and spending time with Julia - his most favorite person in the world and best daughter-friend. He was relaxed and rejuvenated any time he could walk or hike local National Park trails. Curtis had a keen knack for, and enjoyed, photographing scenes from his nature adventures. God’s creations and landscapes - flowers, birds, owls, wildlife, and even weather patterns - captured his heart and mind. This was a palpable way of experiencing God’s larger story of walking with him daily in both peaceful meadows and rugged terrain. Life is a mixture of both. Curtis taught that there can even be beauty in rain. One of Curtis’ favorite quotes is by pastor and author John Piper: “We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem. Why do we go? Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self.” As Curtis endured illness resulting in paralysis throughout the last year of his life, he showed everyone by example how to encounter hardship. Even confined to a wheelchair, he never complained, instead choosing to be kind and humble, embracing a special grace from God to experience adversity. Curtis chose to have a private service. It would be so meaningful to rejoice and remember by going outside. If you are able, take a walk, take a photo, appreciate something you never noticed before. Ask God to keep showing up in your life. Listen for God’s voice in your heart, mind and soul. Pray for yourself, pray for someone near to you in your life, and just like Curtis, keep pursuing God. You were created by and for God. You are valuable and loved. Curtis and our family would like to express deep gratitude and appreciation to Summa Hospital and rehab doctors, nurses and therapists; Cuyahoga Falls Paramedics Squad #1, Alright Construction, Generac Power Systems; our extended family who helped us so much. Special thanks to the Gardens of Western Reserve Home Care and Hospice and our team of caregivers. And to each individual who sacrificially donated finances so we could care for Curtis at home, thank you! Preceded in death by his father Rev. Charles Curtis Thomas, Jr., he is survived by his wife of 24 years, Tina; his daughter Julia; mother Eileen (Fred) Thomas; sister Valerie (Cliff) Schmidt; mother-in-law Barb Salchak; brother-in-law Bryan (Tia) Salchak; nieces and nephews: Vanessa (Dave), Janaya, Bryce, Shelby (Steve), Ashley, Mason and Austin. Great uncle to Reagan, Finley and Waylon. And a posse of men armed with the Word of God who were beloved brothers in Christ and cheered each other on! Service and burial for Curtis will be private. Should friends desire, memorials may be made to Haven of Rest, 175 E. Market Street, Akron 44308, (havenofrest.org); the Benevolence Fund at Hope Community Church, 3033 Middleton Road, Hudson 44236 (hopecma.com/give); or to the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 1403 West Hines Hill Road, Peninsula, Ohio 44264 (https://www.conservancyforcvnp.org/donate/).
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