Former Opelika Mayor and longtime local businessman J. Miles Thomas was laid to rest Thursday in a service at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Thomas, who served as mayor from 1983-84, died Sunday.

An Army veteran and devoted pharmacist, he began his career when only a few days after being discharged he enrolled at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, which would later become Auburn University.

In 1957, he opened Thomas Pharmacy in Opelika and would go on to hold high-level positions in various pharmaceutical organizations throughout the state, including being inducted into the Alabama Pharmacy Hall of Fame.

Thomas would serve as president of the Alabama Pharmacy Association, Alabama State Board of Pharmacy, and lend a hand to his alma mater by serving on the advisory board for the Harrison School of Pharmacy at Auburn University.

Fellow former Opelika Mayor Barbara Patton remembers Thomas’ hard work and dedication to serving the city.

“He was just a very caring man,” she said. “He was always there to speak to you and make sure things were going well.”

In addition to his contributions to the pharmaceutical community, Thomas was a dedicated member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board for almost 20 years, emphasizing the need of recreational activities for children.

Because his efforts on the Parks and Recreation Board, the Miles Thomas Field on Rocky Brook Road was named in his honor.

Thomas retired from the world of pharmaceuticals after 40 years in 1997, but his namesake pharmacy is still open and serving the community.

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