James Lester Thomas, former Lexington police officer and real estate agent, dies at 70

kward1@herald-leader.comMay 7, 2013 

James Lester Thomas, 70, a retired Lexington real estate agent who also was a former Lexington police officer, died Monday. He had battled brain cancer.

Mr. Thomas, who was known among friends and family as "J.L.," was a Lexington police officer for 12 years, his family said.

He was a sergeant who worked in the crime prevention program for part of his tenure in the 1970s.

He later left police work and opened a real estate business, Kentucky Fine Homes, which had more than 50 agents and later became affiliated with Coldwell Banker.

"He was a great boss," said Janice Yonts, who worked in Mr. Thomas' real estate office and who now works at the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors. "He was kind. He was considerate. He ran a good business."

Mr. Thomas retired when he was 49 and got his pilot's license, said his brother, Brian Thomas, of Charlotte, N.C.

"He was a go-getter," Brian Thomas said.

He said Mr. Thomas also loved children and served as a guardian ad litem for foster children in Florida, where he spent part of his retirement.

In addition to his brother, Mr. Thomas is survived by his mother, Alice Wilhoite Thomas; his son, James Lonnie Thomas II of Louisville; and two sisters, Lonelle Cottrell of Lexington and Verna Elswick of Richmond.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Milward Funeral Directors' location on Trent Boulevard. Visitation is 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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