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Rev. Harold R. ‘Rusty’ Thomas, Methodist minister

Oct. 16, 1950 – April 15, 2015

NIAGARA FALLS – The Rev. Harold R. “Rusty” Thomas, a Methodist minister, died April 15 at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice House in Winston-Salem, N.C., after a lengthy illness. He was 64.

A native of Alexandria, Va., he earned a bachelor of arts degree from Roberts Wesleyan College, and a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.

Rev. Thomas was ordained in the Free Methodist Church, and served as a pastor for 27 years in Free Methodist and United Methodist congregations in Oklahoma and in Niagara County, including North Ridge United Methodist Church in Lockport, and both Colonial Heights Free Methodist and St. James United Methodist churches in Niagara Falls.

At the community level, he was heavily involved in local schools and other youth programs, in particular youth sports and extracurricular programs.

Rev. Thomas was an avid sports enthusiast and history buff who enjoyed choral music.

His wife of 39 years, the former Julie Breese, died in 2009.

He is survived by two daughters, Christel Allen and Megan; two sons, the Rev. A.J. and Dave; and six grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday in First United Methodist Church, 300 N. Main Ave., Newton, N.C.

A memorial service will be held in Niagara Falls, at a time and location to be determined.