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Lakeview alumnus Jordan Thomas remembered for his loving, caring spirit
2020 graduate died in car crash Jan. 31
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Lakeview's Jordan Thomas - photo by Austin Steele

Over 200 family members, friends, school mates and others who knew Jordan Thomas gathered at Lakeview Academy Monday night, placing flowers and candles around a spray-painted number four.

The 19-year-old from Alto died in a tragic single-vehicle accident near Statesboro on Jan. 31, where he attended Georgia Southern University. Bradley Coleman “Cole” Couey of Kingston, who was the truck’s passenger, also died, according to an obituary.

John Simpson, assistant head of Lakeview, led the vigil, noting that four was Thomas’ football number at the academy. Simpson said people from “all over” attended, even the young man’s friends from Georgia Southern, Berry College, the University of Mississippi and the University of North Georgia.

“I never dreamed we’d have a prayer vigil at our school for one of our own,” Simpson said. “We’re all distraught and hurting. I don’t have any words of wisdom. The only thing I have is hope because I know Jordan was a believer, and we all hold onto that hope.”

Thomas graduated from Lakeview in 2020 where he played on the private school’s baseball and football teams.

Deuce Roark, Lakeview’s athletics director and baseball coach, described Thomas as a “good, natural athlete” who was ambidextrous on the field and a joy to be around. 

“He could put a glove on either hand and (throw) almost equally well with both hands,” he said. “What stood out is he was a great teammate. Never did he complain. Always encouraging.”

Although Thomas proved an exceptional athlete, Simpson said he worked just as hard academically, making a strong impression on all of his teachers.

“He’s just a kid that loves people, loves us all,” he said. “We got to have Jordan Thomas in our lives for the last 19 years. The memories he made and left us are good. I feel fortunate that Jordan Thomas came to my school.”

Brandon Wilson said he met Thomas on his first day of sixth grade, and since then, they’ve been best friends. The two even became roommates at Georgia Southern their freshman year. 

Wilson said he can’t recall the last time he went 24 hours without seeing his best friend. He added that Thomas would put a smile on his face everyday, just by looking at him. 

“He wouldn’t think about himself before anybody else,” he said. “He would always ask how you were doing, it was always about other people. That’s why he’s so special.”

Roark noted Thomas’ infectious personality, saying that he had a helpful and kind spirit. 

“(He’s) just one of the best kids to be around,” he said.

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Over 200 people gathered on Feb. 1, 2021 at Lakeview Academy to remember the life of Jordan Thomas. Photo courtesy Rena Millwood

Wilson said he’ll never forget a memory he shared with Thomas when the two were in the seventh grade. He remembers running barefoot through his family’s farm in the pitch black with his friend, both screaming to the top of their lungs. They weren’t running from anything, Wilson said, just living in the moment. 

“Jordan loved everybody,” he said. “He would never say one bad thing about anybody. He was an outstanding person. I want everyone to know that if he met you for five minutes or knew you his whole life, he would treat you the same.”

Rena Millwood, whose children played sports with Thomas at Lakeview, created a memorial fundraiser for the young man on GoFundMe. So far, nearly $7,000 of the $20,000 goal has been gathered. Millwood said the money is intended to ease the burden of the Thomas family and help pay for whatever they need, including the funeral and celebration of life services. 

“He was just a sweet boy, just caring and loved everybody,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face and a hug to give.”

Thomas is the son of Patty and Tim, and brother of Jayden and Johnathan. 

Funeral services are 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at the Torch Worship Center in Demorest, followed by interment at the Holly Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

Those unable to attend in person can watch it from McGahee-Griffin and Stewart Funeral Home’s Facebook page. The family will receive friends from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the funeral home, located at 175 VFW Road in Cornelia.

Flowers are accepted or donations can be made in Thomas’ memory to Alpha Tau Omega, 207 Wildwood Drive, Statesboro, GA 30458 or Lakeview Athletics Department, 796 Lakeview Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501.

For more information about the services, visit mcgaheegriffinandstewart.com.


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Flowers adorn a spray-painted number four at Lakeview Academy in honor of Jordan Thomas, who died on Jan. 31, 2021. Photo courtesy John Simpson
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