East Texans remember a beloved pastor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans remember a beloved pastor

TYLER, TX (KLTV)- Services are being set for a longtime East Texas pastor.

Pastor Lou Thomas passed away Friday. Thomas was the pastor at Lane's Chapel United Methodist church in Tyler. Friends said to most, he was known as "Brother Lou".

Friends said Thomas spent more than forty years in the ministry. They said on his first Sunday at Lane's Chapel there were only about seven people in the congregation -- now, there are more than 1,000.

But family and friends said Thomas was so much more than a pastor and a mentor to young ministers. He was a girls basketball and volleyball coach, a P.E. teacher, an avid golfer and an active member in more philanthropies than they could count.

Friends said "Brother Lou" took his message everywhere from the pulpit to the golf course, making everyone feel like they were his best friend.

"Lou had a way of making everyone feel good about themselves, even if they had forgotten there was anything good about them," a long-time friend Kenny Smith said.

"As a great friend of mine said, it's horrible for us, but Lou is really happy right now," Smith said.

Smith said Thomas truly loved people and always made time for anyone who needed him.

Thomas's brother-in-law Richard Hughes said Thomas had a gift. "He could be your minister without being your judge and people flocked to that," Hughes said.

"If you ever met him, you loved him and he definitely loved you," he said.

Hughes said Thomas lived a full life and at age 64, was one of the most remarkable men he knew.

"I know he has heard the words, 'Well done thy good and faithful servant,'" Hughes said.

Lou is survived by his mother, sister, wife, two children, four grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

There will be a visitation for Brother Lou Thomas Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m. in the Lane's Chapel Family Life Center.

A worship service for him will be held Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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