Russell Leon Thomas

March 1, 1965 – June 1, 2019

Russell Leon Thomas was born in Alexander City, AL on March 1, 1965.

Russell grew up in Alexander City where he attended the Alexander City public schools and participated in the Boy Scouts of America. In 1979, he enrolled in Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN for his high school years. Upon graduating from Baylor in 1983, he attended the University of Alabama where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and earned a degree in Business.

He spent 21 years in the banking industry, first with AmSouth Bank in Birmingham, AL and then with Aliant Bank of Alexander City. Due to his love of people and helping others, Russell spent all of this time in the banking industry working with retail branches.

Following his banking career, Russell devoted himself to causes dear to his heart. This included work with Sozo Children, which supports vulnerable children in Uganda and helps them become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ. Russell spent the last years of his life serving with Church of the Highlands through the Birmingham Dream Center.

Russell’s passions included Alabama football, Lake Martin, science and technology, his beloved dogs and most of all spending time with his wife Cathy and daughter Mary Tate.

From the very beginning of his life, Russell was a people person with an infectious smile and laugh. He had an amazing ability to make friends wherever he went and always treated people with dignity and respect. He was a powerful instrument for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Russell is preceded in death by his mother, Tate Jordan Thomas of Tuscaloosa, AL. He is survived by his father John Russell Thomas (Claudia) of Eclectic, AL, his wife Cathy Strickland Thomas of Mountain Brook, AL and daughter Mary Tate Thomas. He is also survived by his twin brother John Jordan Thomas (Gina) of Mountain Brook, AL, niece Sarah Madison Thomas, nephew John Fletcher Thomas and niece Casey Jordan Thomas, also of Mountain Brook, AL. Other survivors include brother-in-law David Strickland (Lynette) of Opelika, AL, nephew Wilson (Kayla) Strickland of Ft. Collins, Colorado, niece Emma (Nick) Bulso of Nashville, TN, nephew Peter Strickland of Atlanta, GA, nephew Oliver Strickland, nephew John David Strickland, niece Cecilia Strickland, nephew Henry Strickland and nephew Oscar Strickland, all of Opelika, AL, stepbrother Charles Reynolds Thompson III (Hamilton) of Mountain Brook, AL, stepsister Laurie Thompson (Brad) McGill of Mountain Brook, AL, nephew Charles Reynolds Thompson, IV in Dallas, TX, nephew Benjamin Randolph Dunlap in Houston, TX, niece Joan Leslie McGill of Birmingham, nephew Philip McKay Thompson, nephew James Andrew McGill and nephew William Paden Thompson, all of Mountain Brook, AL, Uncle Robert Lightfoot Coley of Lake Toxaway, NC, cousins James Lightfoot Coley (Kim), Evan Lightfoot Coley, Harper Jane Coley, Kathleen Coley Dinerman (Justin), Elizabeth Coley Dinerman and Mary Celia Dinerman all of Atlanta, GA.

Visitation will take place at the Church of the Highlands Chapel, Grants Mill Campus on Thursday June 6, 2019 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. followed by a celebration of life service in the Chapel. Interment will take place in a private family ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be mailed to Sozo Children, 4 41st Street South, Birmingham, AL 35222 or online at