Celebrating the Life of a Master Mortician
James B. Thomason a native of Oklahoma crossed the golden shores January 02, 2022 in Tacoma, Washington. James was involved in funeral service since the age of twelve. His interest was sparked by his mother who was a beautician at Temple Funeral Home. He worked part-time while in junior high, and after graduating from high school, attended Central State University obtaining a BA Degree in Mortuary Science in 1980.
James loved music almost as much as he loved funeral service. He served as choir director, organist, and assistant Min. of Music for Allen Chapel A.M.E. He also served as Min. of Music of two other local Baptist churches. Working in the funeral industry during the day, he also worked nights as a check processing clerk. He later was promoted to an Operations Officer at Fidelity Bank NA. In 1987 he moved fromOklahoma City and relocated to Los Angeles, California. where his father lived. While in Los Angeles, James worked for House of Winston Mortuary and Harrison-Ross Mortuaries. He established a trade embalming service Master’s Hands Mortuary Care Svc., therefore he worked for several area funeral establishments on call. He continued his music ministry at two area churches in Los Angeles. Zane Fitch, a childhood friend and big brother, offered him an opportunity to move to the Pacific Northwest. In 1994 he accepted the offer and relocated to Seattle, Washington where he began working at Dayspring & Fitch.
James continued at Dayspring and Fitch for many years as the primary embalmer. He was employed at Mt. View Funeral Home in 1995 where he worked for 19 years. He also worked on call for Able TMA Mortuary and Upper Room Funeral Chapel in Tacoma. In 2015 he began employment with Piper-Morley Funeral Home until his health fell victim to a mild stroke on October 31, 2016. Thru God’s Master’s Hands he recovered and began working as the lead funeral director and operations manager at Premire Funeral Services.
His educational endeavors include a MA. Degree in Counseling Psychology, Central State University along with a MA Degree in Organizational Management, University of Phoenix and most recently completed studies with International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Assoc. receiving a CertifiedCrematory Operator’s Certificate. Other educational achievements include the prestigious CFSP designation (Certified Funeral Service Practitioner).
His professional affiliations and awards include: California Funeral & Embalmers Assoc., State Embalmers & Directors Assoc. of Oklahoma, Washington State Funeral Directors Assoc, National Funeral Directors Assoc., National Funeral Directors & Mortician’s Assoc., Epsilon Nu Delta Mortuary & Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities. James has served on the Board of Directors for the WSFDA for 7 years and in 2007 he became the 1st and only African American President in State History. In 2001 he was awarded Funeral Director of the Year by WSFDA, 2007 Embalmer of the Year by Epsilon Nu Delta, and Special Service Award by the NFDA.
He has been guest instructor/speaker for several mortuary schools, as well as state and national associations. He has written and presented over 20 funeral and embalming seminars. James is a proud member of Pacific Christian Center for over 20 years. He was preceded by his parents James Bernard Thomason and Irene Thomason. He is survived by his only childC. Thomason (Jones) and her husband Angelo M. Ross Jones, and two grandchildren, Nathaniel J. Henderson III (Grandson) and Breauna C. Henderson (granddaughter) who reside in The Colony, Texas.
Celebration of his life will be held Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 4pm at Shiloh Baptist Church 1211 South I Street Tacoma, WA.
Celebration of his life will be held Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 11am at Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church at 3721 Staton Dr, Oklahoma City, OK 73111