Mark Thomas, a longtime Baltimore and Washington, D.C.-area DJ, died Jan. 25. He was 55. The cause of death was not immediately available.
Thomas started his DJ career at The Hippo in 1980 and was a Baltimore and New York City resident when he died. Chuck Bowers, owner of the Hippo, fondly remembered giving Thomas his start.
“He would listen carefully to the work of other DJs at the time, listen to the music and become the best DJ he can be,” said Bowers. “He was a handsome man, but his personality exceeded even that.” Bowers brought Thomas back to the Hippo for special events and last saw him during Pride last year.
Thomas also worked at various clubs in Rehoboth during those early years, including the Renegade and the Strand. Murray Archibald from CAMP Rehoboth said, “From the Saint days, through the Strand years, and for 25 years of Sundance he was our music man.”
Thomas also played around the world in places like Mykonos, Greece and Sydney, Australia.
“I have known Mark since he was 19 years old, when I took him under my wing, some 36 years ago,” Lynda Dee, a Baltimore attorney and founder and president of AIDS Action Baltimore, told the Blade. “We have been the best of friends since that time. He was really more like a son to me. While I will never get over his loss, I am comforted by this sentiment, which I received in a lovely sympathy card, ‘When I think of Mark, I remember all the people he made dance and be happy.’ What a beautiful legacy!”
Fellow DJ Jimmy P, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. added, “Mark was a down-to-earth and really fun guy. He was one of the Saint’s stable of hugely talented DJs. We became friends in the ‘90s and would meet Saturdays at the Eagle Nest NYC and spend time joking and laughing the night away. Sometimes he would come to hear me DJ on Fridays. I was so honored. His favorite expression was, ‘Doll’ this and that.
“Time and distance separated us but we reconnected through a music sharing group based in Fort Lauderdale and then through Facebook. I last chatted with him about two months ago. All I can say is: ‘Doll…you left your musical mark on many; you were a really great DJ, man and a good friend. Doll…you will be missed.’”
A memorial service for Mark will take place on his birthday, Sunday, May 31 at 4 p.m. It will be held at City Café, 1001 Cathedral St. in Baltimore with music by Sean Novak. May 31 would have been Thomas’s 56th birthday.