“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don't stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just... start.”

I don't know who originally said this but my brother knew the words by heart. He had started and he had come so far. Unfortunately his battle has come to an end...

Fred Steven Thomas II, the last Thomas in this line, died Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 at his childhood home. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Fred and Gertrude Thomas of Rubyville, OH and his maternal grandfather, Malchom Davis of West Virginia. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Fred (Steve) and Barbara Thomas of Jackson, OH.

Freddie is survived by his sister, Natasha (Davis) Shelton, his brother-in-law, Kerry Shelton, and niece, Ela Emily K. Shelton, all of Jackson; and his maternal grandmother, Barbara (Stapleton) Bentley also of Jackson, OH, as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Please choose to remember Freddie this way: He was smart and funny. He was a talented athlete and a good worker. He was great with kids and loved to play with Ela and her animals. He was charming and liked by all that met him. When you think of him, remember those things.

Go out. Do good things. Make good decisions. Be stronger than this disease. Stronger than addiction. Do these things in his memory. Do these things for me.

Arrangements are being made through Mayhew-Brown Funeral Home of Jackson. Private graveside services for the family will be at the convenience of the family, where he will be laid to rest with his parents.

Donations can be made directly to the Mayhew-Brown Funeral Home to help with final expenses. Memorial donations can also be made to Mike's Bridge House Sober Living Home in Athens, OH. Bless them as they continue the fight.

Condolences may be sent to the family at: www.mayhew-brownfuneralhome.com.