Ananias Thomas, who turned 71 earlier this year, does not have any immediate plans for retirement. His 50th year of employment at Rotary Corporation/Duramatic Products, which is celebrating its 65th year in business in 2022, will be September 24.
"As long as I feel mentally and physically able to do my job, then I am content to keep working. I have seen too many people who die just a few years after retirement," he said.
He appreciates the structure and continuity of his employment, with his work day beginning at 6:30 a.m.
Ananias started working at Duramatic Products, a division of Rotary Corporation, under the management of Richard Brown and Charles Simmons, who are both now deceased. He has worked in all departments, first as a lead person in the Heat Treat and Finishing Department. Now Ananias is the Supervisor of the Blade Straightening Department, and he is pleased with the high employee retention in his department.
He fondly recalls the late Bill Nelson, the founder of Rotary Corporation.
"If you wanted to work, and showed that you wanted to work, you could get a job with the company," Ananias said.
Dennis Lamb, Chief Maintenance Officer of Rotary Corporation, spoke highly of Ananias.
“At 71 years old, Ananias is a model for all employees to emulate. He is here every day, on time, and always works with the best interest of his employees as well as Rotary's in mind. I have always considered Ananias as someone who can be counted on to provide honest and valuable insight into our operations. This year will be his 50th year with Rotary and my 40th year of having the pleasure to work with him daily," Lamb said.
Ananias' roots are steeped in Tattnall County. His parents are the late Ananias and Catherine Levant Thomas. While Ananias is the oldest, he has six siblings: Charles, Sarah, Dale, Barbara, Alphanzo, and Ricky.
Charles Thomas lives in Long County and is retired from Duramatic; he and his wife, Harriet, have three sons. Sarah Annette Thomas Brewton is deceased and has two sons. Dale works for Duramatic while his wife, Linda Gale, is employed at Rotary; they are parents to several children. Barbara Thomas Cooper has been a longtime, efficient clerk in the Tattnall Tax Commissioner's Office; her husband, Fred, is retired, and they have a daughter and son. Alphanzo, who is a faith-based consultant for small businesses, lives in Lithonia Springs, Georgia, with his wife, Linda, and they have three children. Ricky Thomas was raised by Ananias' parents, and the Thomas children consider him a brother. Ricky works for the U.S. Post Office in Glennville where he lives with his wife, Stephanie, who is a Tattnall Board of Education member and owns her own hair salon while also employed at the Glennville Housing Authority; they have twin sons.
Ananias is married to the former Edna Hagan of Glennville. She is still employed at Tattnall County High School where she serves as Custodian Supervisor, and previously served for over ten years as a school bus driver. Their children included Roschelle, Ericka, and Keeth.
Daughter Roschelle is married to Kevin Hughes, and they make their home in Ellenwood, Georgia. Rochelle is employed at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Kevin is employed with the Clayton County Police Department as a Lieutenant. Their five children are Whitney, Jalicia, Ciara, Kameron, and Ivory.
Daughter Sgt. Erica Thomas is married to Kristy Thomas, and they make their home in Acworth, Georgia. Ericka will soon mark her 21st year of service in June, which includes the U.S. Army and Georgia Army National Guard. She is employed full time in Marietta in an administrative capacity with the National Guard. Her military time includes one deployment to Iraq from 2003 to 2004. Kristy is a small business owner who is a chef and also works full time for Senator International.
Son Keeth Thomas passed away in 2008, and fathered seven children: Taliea, Keon, Jameria, Autumn, Chandler, Lehmon, and Keyvon Thomas.
Ananias and Edna enjoy traveling and have fond memories of trips to the Bahamas and Jamaica. Since COVID-19, however, the couple have stayed close to home. Ananias had COVID-19, despite his vaccinations, and was in the hospital for almost a month, with therapy weeks after his hospital stay.
They are also dedicated to their church of Evening Light Church of God in Glennville where Ananias serves as a deacon and Edna is Associate Minister. Edna is continuing her study in the ministry, too.
For pastimes, Ananias likes to tinker with cars and trucks, learning that from his uncle, Lander Levant. Ananias' grandfather, Lander Levant, Sr., played a big part in his life when he was younger, serving as a mentor. Ananias also likes to garden and cook, with baking his favorite. His specialties include a cream cheese pound cake and a whipping cream pound cake, which his family looks forward to seeing come out of the oven.
For Ananias, he feels blessed with every day, especially after his bout with COVID. He feels that the Lord put us on this earth to be productive, and Ananias will continue at Duramatic until his health tells him otherwise.
Tim Cooper, General Manager of Duramatic Products, spoke of his pride in Ananias and his hard work and dedication to the company.
"Long-term employment is less common today than it ever has been. Both of my parents worked over 30 years at the places they retired from, and I consider that a great accomplishment. When I look at the longevity of service Ananias has provided, 50 years, I am proud of both his commitment to Rotary/Duramatic and the company's commitment to him," Cooper said.
Ananias Thomas's Recipes
WHIPPING CREAM POUND CAKE
2 sticks of butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp. vanilla flavoring
1 cup of heavy cream
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add flour, alternating with the heavy cream. Add vanilla flavoring. Pour into a greased bundt pan at 320 degrees for one hour and 45 minutes.
CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE
3 sticks Blue Bonnet butter, softened
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. vanilla flavoring
Cream butter, sugar, and cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in flour. Add vanilla. Bake at 275 degrees for 1.5 hours in a greased bundt cake pan.