Pastor, Comedian and all around good guy Fred Thomas known as “Pastor Fred” passed away on last week and as you can imagine, there is a deep sense of loss that has overtaken the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Actually, this loss has been felt across America as The Pastor Fred touched lives with laughter on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, as a musician and performer in the traditional and quartet segments of the gospel music industry. He was also a churchman and had served as Pastor of two churches in his ministry career.
I’m not sure if everybody knew Fred, or if he knew everybody! He was always good for a laugh, even when he wasn’t feeling good. His jovial nature and sunny disposition was always a bright light wherever he was and it’s fair to say that life’s skies are a little overcast, since he passed away. Whenever we would see each other, I would always say “two Freds are better than one” and this week, I’m hurting a little. When gospel icon Joe Ligon passed away, Pastor Fred graciously accepted my invitation to come on the show to share memories of the “Bossman”. Pastor Fred was the only non member of the Mighty Clouds of Joy on the broadcast as I was joined by Ron Stapleton, Ervin “Big Man” Williams and longtime member, Johnny Valentine.
I’m just a Kingdom dude trying to heal the land one laugh at a time!Pastor Fred Thomas
On a more personal note, Fred was an inspiration to me because he was a striver. He was a man striving to live out his life’s dreams and provide for his family. Whenever there was a setback, he bounced back, just not this time.
Fred Thomas was a musician, singer, Pastor, actor and comedian. As a man, he was a father and husband and from where I could see, he did his best in each role and talent. It seems as if he knew everybody in church and met even more people on the air with Rickey Smiley. The two of them could go on for hours and even days sharing laughs across social media. Fred was a pure comedian who didn’t need to make fun of anyone or anything to be funny…he would show you the comedy in each moment or setting.
Fred’s personality and laugh were larger than life and even though his star shone bright, he was perfectly fine here at home. You know what I mean when I talk about the switch up with fame. Instead, it seems that with each viral video, commercial, role in a play, tv show or movie, he wanted to do more! When Blue Bell was removed from the shelves because of a listeria outbreak, it was Fred’s gospel inspired song that seemingly got the belts moving on assembly lines to bring back ‘the best ice cream in the country.’ Not to be outdone, another Texas treasure, Whataburger created a campaign featuring Fred Thomas, who in another viral video sang the praises of the chain’s honey butter chicken biscuit.
In a 2016 interview for Examiner.com following his viral Blue Bell video, I described “Pastor Fred” as more than a comedian, he was a heart doctor. His jokes just might knock you sideways or cause you to laugh yourself into a stupor. He understood that ‘a merry heart doeth good like a medicine’ (Proverbs 17:22) and did all he can to heal the land with laughter! Pastor Fred was able to not only inspire others through his comedy, comedy was healing for him as a victim of molestation.
Thomas’ videos exceeded normal views and regularly nudged the viral meter. Thomas even found a way to speak on current events by “whooping hot topics” and found himself at the center of another hot topic when teenagers in McKinney came face to face with the barrel of a police firearm. Thomas was tapped to be a part of the “Heal McKinney” event in the weeks following the altercation that made national media headlines.
Here’s the conversation from that 2016 interview with The Pastor Fred:
This interview was originally posted on Examiner.com and was transcribed from a phone call. Here’s our conversation,
Willis: Anything in particular you want the people to know about you?
Thomas: I’m just a Kingdom dude trying to heal the land one laugh at a time
Willis: You’re an actual Pastor?
Thomas: Without charge lol. In other words I don’t currently shepherd a flock, but I’ve Pastored two COGIC churches
Willis: Oh, cool. I first heard of you with it ain’t no fun being fat, was that your first bit?
Willis: What inspired you to go public with the bit, were you trying to go viral?
Thomas: Not at all. When I get inspired I just put it out there. Had no idea it would go this far.
Willis: Favorite Blue Bell flavor?
Thomas: Butter Pecan
Willis: Yeah mine too. You were visible with the McKinney pool party aftermath and you’re going to OKC for ‘A Night of Healing’. How are you merging comedy with ministry, especially when some things are no laughing matter?
Thomas: God told me I’m moving from church to Kingdom. Laughter brings about healing which opens people up to deal with issues. God told me that “FAT” to everyone means “Facing All Trials”. I was molested as a kid and after 30 years I dealt with it through laughter and in turn, that’s how I help others.
Willis: Wow! So what’s next for you, what are your aspirations for your comedy? You see yourself on bigger stages than church?
Thomas: …At this point I’m following God’s lead!
Fred Thomas was a gift to the world, and we are so blessed to have had time with him here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He blessed so many people with laughter and his uplifting spirit. To say he will be missed doesn’t even convey the deep sense of loss that has engulfed the metroplex since news of his passing broke.