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Rev. Melvin D. Thomas
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A funeral was held Friday at First Pentecostal Church in Ceres for the Rev. Melvin D. Thomas, 66, of Ceres. He died Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005 at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto

Burial will be at Carney Cemetery, Okla. under the direction of Ceres Chapel of Franklin & Downs.

Born Dec. 8, 1938, in Carney, Okla., Mr. Thomas lived in Ceres for 16 years and previously lived in Modesto for 17 years. He was the senior pastor at Bethel Tabernacle Church in Ceres and a longtime leader of the Modesto Police Department reserve force. Rev. Thomas was a member of the Pentecostal Church of God's Central California District Board and served as district missions director for Latin America. He led the Modesto police reserve unit for close to 30 years and was the unit's second captain.

Thomas was the department's longest-living reservist, starting on Feb. 6, 1973, and serving until 2000. He then returned as a volunteer for a year and a half.

Rev. Thomas also served in the Marine Corps Reserve.

He leaves behind his wife, Brenda Thomas of Ceres; his brother, Frank Thomas of Oklahoma; two sisters, Neva Lankford and Helen Sherrill, both of Bakersfield; and two grandchildren.

Remembrances may be sent to Bethel Tabernacle Church, 2425 E. Service Road, Ceres, CA 95307.