Editor’s note: This story is part of a series about Oklahomans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the stories of other Oklahomans here. Have you lost a loved one to COVID-19? Help us tell their story. 

Michael Eugene Thomas was someone “who could have fun at even the worst of times,” his wife, Helen Thomas said.

He poured his time into making his wife, children, grandchildren and other family members happy, and he was always cracking jokes. He mentored his youngest son in wrestling. He also liked to spend time with his kids by camping, fishing and playing video games.

“He was just always someone that would bring your mood up, and he was just always upbeat,” Helen said. “Just a great all-around person.”

Michael died at a Norman hospital on Dec. 14, 2020, a little more than a month after he tested positive and was hospitalized for COVID-19, his wife said. He was 47. 

He spent his last days mostly alone in a hospital room on a ventilator.

“He’s not just a number. He was my everything,” Helen said. 

She described Michael as her rock. He always went above and beyond to make special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, memorable. 

Helen and Michael were high school sweethearts and first started dating when they were 14. Michael played baseball, football and wrestled. 

Michael was 19 years old and Helen was 18 when they married in Mojave, California, on March 22, 1993. 

The couple moved to Oklahoma in 1996 and raised three children here. Michael was a safety manager for Pontotoc Sands, a company about 20 minutes south of Ada, where he and his family lived.

When Michael went to the hospital because of his COVID-19 symptoms, a doctor told Helen they would give him oxygen and that he would likely be home in a few days.

“That didn’t happen,” she said. 

On Nov. 12, Michael sent Helen a short video saying he loved her and he was doing well. Later that afternoon, he was placed on a ventilator. 

In addition to his wife, Michael left behind his mother, his brothers, three children and grandchildren. 

“I just want people to know if they’re sick, stay home because it’s (coronavirus) still here,” Helen said. “There’s still people in Oklahoma that’s passing away.”