Joseph Denis Thomas was born in Ville Bonheur Haiti, on September 9, 1909. He was trained as an agronomist and agriculturalist at the Damien School for Agronomy (agricultural school of Haiti near Port-au-Prince). He started his career in rural education and managed and directed many rural farm schools in the central plateau and Artibonite region of Haiti. These rural farm schools, while maintaining elements of classical curriculum focused on vocational education and agronomy. There he introduced to the rural children and young adults the love of the land and how to preserve it.
Later he became the director of the Elevage farm of Marmont in the central plateau--one of most important government farms in the country. He engaged in livestock breeding with the aim to provide progressive genetic improvement of the indigenous cattle. He was involved in soil conservation, watershed management, reforestation and land use improvement. He also provided training and necessary technical support to the local farmers to improve agricultural production. During the troubled times in Haiti under Jean-Claude “Papa Doc” Duvalier he was unable to continue his efforts to help the rural farmers. He unwillingly left Haiti for the United States after 35 years of service at the Ministry of agriculture. Soon after arrival in the US, he developed complete blindness as a complication of glaucoma. He died at the age of 94, and instilled in his children, grandchildren and friends a love of Haiti’s unique beauty.