Donald Keith “Donnie Donrock” Thomas was born to the late Kit and Mary Austin Thomas in Newark, New Jersey on April 23, 1959.
Donald completed elementary school in Newark, New Jersey. Donnie also completed middle school there at Vernon L. Davey Junior High School in East Orange, New Jersey. After junior high Donnie and his mother moved to Dora , Alabama where he attended Dora High School. In 1981 Donnie obtained a certificate in Masonry at Walker State Technical College. In 1982 he obtained a certificate in Basic Mining from Walker State Technical College.
Donnie was a man of many talents. He enjoyed playing the Keyboard, the Guitar, and he loved to sing but his favorite thing of all was playing the DRUMS. He was so passionate about playing the drums that a group of guys: Louis Guin, Dale and Greg Haygood, Vernon Hardway, Charles Kidd, and Pap Hagler: heard about this DYNAMIC DRUMMER from Dora and decided to seek him out. In 1980 they all got together and form the group RISE. For years they played great music filled with a lot of good times together. In 2004 those good times would come to an end when the group officially split up.
Donnie is preceded in death by father Kit Thomas; mother Mary Austin Thomas;Grandparents George and Willie Mae Austin; Aunt Elizabeth Austin Blandon;Uncle Lonnie Blandon; Cousin Lonnie Blandon Jr.;Grandchild London Lane;and Wife Cassandra Thomas.
Donnie is survived by one Daughter Chekeithia Grant ,Yerkwood,Alabama; three sons LeAndrew (Charmaine)Thomas, Birmingham,Alabama, Lahitia (Blair) Grant, Auburn,Alabama, and Thaddious (MaKayla) ,Alabama; three step children: Jasmine Lane, Raven Lane and Brittney Killings;Fifteen grandchildren: Alexis Thomas, Dominique Grant, Gavin Grant, Emery Wooley, Crimson Whitson, Haven Burgess, Demarcus, Demetrius Kirk, Khali, David, Cordarius Lane, Javian Walls, Javianna Walls,Zendavian Killings ;two Great Grandchildren: Kavon and Phoenix Thomas, special cousins: Cornell Blandon (Nikki) Southfield, Michigan, Freda Price Birmingham,Alabama, Mike Major Cleveland,Ohio, Shirley East Smith, Los Angeles,Californi; special friends: Danny Bankhead, Rodrick Harris, Tonya Williams, Tony Gaines, Joe Bankhead, Arilla Moore, Georgia Harris, Mr. Sam Reese , Mr. Joseph Williams.
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