Stanley Thomas had only nine toes, but his feet were at home in the sandy soil of South Mississippi.
Thomas, 51, a Bay St. Louis native, lost his toe in a bicycle accident when he was 10, but it didn't stop him from fishing along the Coast, and working with boats at different businesses along the Coast.
The tall, thin Thomas died near his apartment in East Biloxi on Aug. 29, a few days after he wrote his last letter to his daughter, whom he loved from afar. Gerrell Elzy said his older brother had a 13-year-old daughter living in Hattiesburg, so he spent a great deal of his last years writing her.
"He was crazy about that baby," Elzy said. "He would do anything for her. He would let himself go without before he didn't do something for her."
Elzy said his brother loved to fish off the piers in Gulfport and he never cared what he caught. He always took his catch home and cooked it.
Thomas and Elzy spent a lot of time together. Both were volunteer firefighters in North Gulfport. The two also ran a lawn care business.
Elzy said he thought he had persuaded his brother to evacuate before the storm.
"The neighbors said he left and went out of town," Elzy said. "But I saw his car was still in front of his apartment."
Thomas helped his neighbors.
"He was doing stuff for people everywhere out there," Elzy said. "All those folks in Biloxi were crazy about Stanley."