Earl Thomas has been with Oakland Rising since the very first campaign we ran with a daily team in 2009 out of Ella Baker Center’s old office. He was a solid presence as an esteemed elder on our team…thoughtful, warm, sincere, helpful, wise, hard-working, intelligent and enthusiastic, and with a laugh that could melt the most frigid of hearts.

He was making Oakland Rising logos on stickers, and designs on t-shirts, before we even thought about having a logo or shirts. And he could check a young team member when they got out of line with the utmost grace and respect.

Earl Morris Thomas was born on July 3, 1956. He was the oldest of five children to the parents of Fredrick Roland Thomas (deceased) and Linnie D. Aaron Thomas-Cobb. Earl was born and raised in Oakland, California where he attended Lockwood Elementary, Havenscourt Jr. High and Fremont High School where soon after he joined the United States Army, and later sailing the seas as a Merchant Seaman.

Earl was blessed with many gifts that included sketching, free-hand drawing, developing cartoon characters and later discovered his love for composing music which he taught himself to play the piano and record his songs.

Earl Morris Thomas passed in peace at Highland Hospital on Saturday, February 4th. Over the last few years he was having increasing health problems, and just a few weeks ago they finally diagnosed him with terminal liver cancer, probably related to being exposed to chemical weapons while serving in Vietnam. 

In honor of Earl, please feel free to make a donation to: The V foundation for Cancer Research