*A Requiem to a Great Friend - Segun Thomas* My friendship with Segun started way back in 1981 when, by providence, our paths crossed in New Brunswick shortly after I arrived in the United States. As Segun arrived in the United States before I did and had lived in the UK for about a year before transitioning to the United States, he became a very valuable resource and sounding board to a newbie like me as I sought to navigate the complexities of a new country. So we met through mutual friends, we clicked, and became close friends, through thick and thin. Segun’s first few years in the United States, when he attended Rutgers, served as a prelude to what was to become an extraordinary life of conciliatory, effective approach to relationships, qualities that made him one of the most critical pillars of the Nigerian American community in NJ. Having met by chance, Segun and I remained close friends by choice. Back in the day, a few of us formed an informal clique in New Brunswick. Times were tough and money was tight but those were trivial concerns because of the abundance of love and care amongst the group members. Those who had vehicles, like Segun, provided transportation to and from work for those who lacked wheels. And, work schedule permitting, we hung out on weekends in any one of our places, usually Segun’s because he had a bigger apartment, talking until the wee hours of the morning while we all gorged on take-out Chinese food. In the intervening years, we all got older and went our separate ways. Got married. Had children, most of whom are now young adults. But as we all changed and got older, the one constant was that Segun remained a drawing force, all too willing to forge new, lasting relationships and, often unprompted, lend a helping hand. Segun’s suggestion that I should connect with one of his contacts, for example, led to my very first professional job after I graduated from college. Segun acquired, quite naturally, the moniker of Chairman in recent years. I guess it had to do with his welcoming nature, his inclination to mentoring younger folks, as well as an innate ability to attract people to his orbit. He reveled in that. Especially in social outings, many of which he invited me to. In those gatherings, Segun was sure to introduce me to a number of fresh faces - his friends and acquaintances. In that sense, he was as a human magnet as well as a glue. The magnet attracted you and the glue bonded with you. That explained how and why we all gravitated towards, and formed relationships with, Segun. All of us. The old hands and the younger folks. Segun had a natural ability to relate to all, charitably and politely. A few weeks ago, I casually mentioned to him that I had just chatted up a Lagos-based mutual friend (who was part of the 1981 New Brunswick group) to extend my warm regards on the occasion of that friend’s milestone birthday. Segun got the guy’s contact information and called to congratulate him. An unexpected gesture of thoughtfulness and decency that proved quite uplifting to the recipient. I am sure each one of us has similar stories to tell. As he did in life, Segun continues to teach us lessons. The outpouring of love and emotion and the way we have all rallied to the Thomas family and around each other are testaments that good deeds can be rewarding. Just as importantly, perhaps, Segun’s passing teaches us that there is a fragility about life that we all take for granted. Our lives are, indeed, like sands through the hour glass. Segun’s passing still leaves me, like us all, shaken, in anguish and in shock. I will miss his friendship and selfless humanity dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his dear wife, Funmilayo Mojisola, as well as his children - Larry, Sean, and Adriel, and other members of the family. May God be with you and protect you all. I am praying for the day, and I hope it comes sooner rather than later, when our thoughts of Segun will evoke smiles of his humanity rather than tears of his absence. John Dunne’s eloquent words, written many centuries ago, that *”each man’s death diminishes me/for I am involved in mankind”*,and asking us *”not to send to know/for whom the bell tolls/it tolls for thee”* could not be any more apt. I know I am mightily diminished by Segun’s passing. I lost a dear friend not because the friendship failed but because it was brazenly, unfairly truncated. Segun had everything but the length of years on earth. You are going home, dear friend, but parts of all our hearts are going with you. Godspeed, Segun. May the soft winds of heaven guide and guard you. Barry
Segun’s death remains a dream to me till now. I never believed I won’t see my friend again. Ah! “Chairman’s death is very saddening,” said the president. “His usual lasting contributions, as well as his charisma, wit and sense of humor will be sorely missed by all friends and associates May the Almighty God repose his soul.” Good bye and good night SEGUN. - Remi Oloyede (REMLOY)
Chairman Segun Thomas (standing first from right) was a man of many hats. He never compromised honesty and was fearless to a fault. The late Segun Thomas as I write always seemed to me the glorification of individuality and a champion of decency, hard work, history, and commander of numbers! Mr. Sege, adieu!
Daddy Larry like I used to call you, words cannot be enough to describe your kindness, caring ,love ,sincerity ..... It was a great shock to hear you are no more with us . But I sincerely believe your good work will definitely live after you , I can't stop crying I still heard your voice that very afternoon when you were leaving for office. But God almighty loves you more than we do. O ye olorun. May lord Jesus rest your soul . I so much feel for your wife you're best of friends. Funmilayo it's only God that can minister to you. God almighty will fill the gap for you and the children
The late Segun Thomas. Rest in peace.
The late Segun Thomas and wife Funmilayo Thomas. RIP
The late Segun Thomas and wife Funmilayo Thomas. RIP
Rest in Peace, Segun D. Thomas
Sege, I’m really confounded and sad, knowing you as a gentle soul who would never hurt a fly, I still can’t fathom what happened. After all, we chatted about two weeks ago while I looked forward to coming over to NJ for our usual rendezvous. This saddens my heart and your journey leaves a big hole. Save me a seat my always smiling pal, since we began our sojourn together in New Brunswick, I’m sure that one day we shall me again. May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace! Afis, from Florida.
The late Segun Thomas was a devoted family man. Casually here with his three kids - Larry, Sean, and Moni. RIP.
I commiserate with the Thomas Quarcoo family of Okebola, Ibadan . I was born almost next house to theirs in OkeBola. I also have the not too enviable role of breaking the news to Igsosana family. I contacted the Igsosana President as soon as I received a call from a common friend with Segun T in New Jersey. Shaking and trembling was a common response to all who heard of his sudden passage. I was Shocked too when I had what happened to ‘Chairman’ ( that is what his friends and associates all over call him) . Gentle, easy going , willing and ever ready to help. A lot of his friends are confused as to how they will cope with his death?. January to March is busy time for him as all his clients expect him to help them resolve their tax issues and returns. He never failed them. A thorough bread professional. I visited him in Sommeset few years ago on his request and we had great time. Funmi his wife, another passionate Mountaineer is a good friend and Sister from IGS. what a great couple they are, with lovely children as a reward for their love and friendship. I used this medium to relay My condolences to Funmilayo and the children. Oluwa a duro ti yin. I also commiserate with Ibadan Grammar school Old Student's Association world wide and IGSOSANA family in particular who also have lost a pillar and a committed member. God will keep us going in Jesus name. May God keep all members in the hollow of His hand in Jesus name. Segun T’s death has challenged a lot of us and our faith. But we will not act like those who do not have God especially if we read our Bible. For those who may ask why this happened ? We just need to read and see what happened to some of Jesus Christ disciples and apostles. They died in similar circumstances. So let us pray to God as it’s the only One that knows how and when all of us will depart. We pray that his soul find eternal repose, that God comfort us all and that the rest us dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. A Ko ya Ibi lagbara Jesu. Adieu Dimeji Mako
Very dear brother n friend, your death came to us as a rude shock. You were such a gentle man to the core, simple in nature and behavior. Your integrity and openness was unparalleled. We are saddened n grieved by your sudden and untimely demise but with consolation that you had a good relationship with God and you are resting with Him already. My wife and I pray that the good Lord will take care of our sister, Moji and the children. Sleep on beloved till we meet to part no more Gbola and Fola Sogaolu
Sege, as I fondly called you, you lived a beautiful life worthy of emulation. Your gentle nature and simplicity are character traits that are beyond comprehension. You epitomized hard work, sincerity and integrity. Your death has left a vacuum very difficult to fill. Moji, the entire family and friends will miss you greatly. My only consolation is that you have been admitted in the gate of heaven where the angels are singing Halelluyah choruses.
Late Segun Thomas and wife Funmilayo Thomas at his son Graduation Sean Thomas. May his gentle soul rest in absolute peace.
The family that stays together always hangs out together. Late Segun, his wife Funmilayo, son Sean and daughter Moni at a wedding ceremony. We pay to God to grant him everlasting rest.
Late Segun Thomas with his son Sean Thomas at a recent wedding occasion. Rest in Peace, Chairman.
The Late Segun Thomas and her daughter Monioluwa Thomas during a recent wedding occasion. You left us so soon. Rest in Peace.
Rest in peace Chairman
Otunba Shonubi will surely miss you. Mr. Sho expresses his condolences to the family.
Segun and wife Funmilayo during a vacation trip. Segun, RIP
Graduation Picture. May his kind soul rest in abundance peace. Amen!
Segun Thomas (first on the left) before his ultimate death was a member of Ibadan Grammar School Old Students Association (I.G.S).