Reverend Bernard Dear Thomas, 77, of Covert, went to be with his Lord on Monday, February 12, 2018. He was born December 12, 1940 to Mamie Lou Jackson in Chicago, Illinois. Bernard graduated from the Blue Island Community High School in Chicago. He moved to Michigan with his love for cooking (and eating) to open his own BBQ houses, Bernie’s Restaurant in Benton Harbor and B&C Barbecue House in South Haven. He later ran a taxi and limo service in South Haven – “Bernie’s Limo”. He held several jobs through his life time, security guard at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, Cook and Maintenance at Lakeland Health System, Cook at Camp Rosenthal in Dowagiac, Ferris Wheel Operator and Train Conductor at Deer Forest until retiring in 2003. He later found work cleaning for Great Lakes Cleaning, driving seniors for South Haven Senior Services and for the Covert Civic Center, and was a funeral director’s assistant at the Filbrandt Family Funeral Home in South Haven for many years. He was a member and reverend at Gospel Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Covert.
Through the years he wore many hats but always found time for family, church, and friends. When he wasn’t at work, you could find him at church preaching and studying God’s Word. He enjoyed spending time with his family both near and far. He enjoyed planning out dinners and celebrations so he could both cook and eat and make sure you were having fun. He enjoyed helping people and guiding and encouraging young minds. He loved making people happy, pulling pranks, joking around, and spoiling people. After retiring he enjoyed traveling to destinations here in Michigan.
His home away from home was Mackinaw and he enjoyed other destinations near and far including Frankenmuth to Zehnders for “the Best chicken in the world” and Bronners to wander through the “magic” of Christmas. He enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas to visit his brother and to take in the sights like the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. He visited Niagara Falls, viewing it from high above on the Candian side and up close on The Spirit of the Mist on the US side and of course the spectacular view all lit up at night.
Bernard loved life, his family, friends, his church, and especially God. He touched every person he came in contact with in his own profound special way. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed.
He is preceded in death by his mother – Mamie Lou Jackson and sisters Peaches and Doris Jackson.
Bernard is survived by his longtime companion – Karen Koch, children – Michelle, Earline, Cherie, Bernard Jr., and Bernadette Thomas, and Casey and Carey Koch, brother – Jerome Thomas, sister – Marsha Ford, grandchildren – Sa'mya, C.J., Matthew, Karen, Jordan, Crystal, James, Shanika, Diane, Melissa, Mya, Dewayne, Shawn Jr., Jasmin, and Dominic, several great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
Wake will be held from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at the Gospel Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Covert. Funeral services will follow wake at 12:00 PM with Pastor Henry Allen officiating. Bernard will be laid to rest at Covert Cemetery.