Who was Dennis Thomas' wife Phynjuar Saunders Thomas? 'Kool & the Gang' co-founder dies at 70

Dennis Thomas was the co-founder of 'Kool & the Gang', which was known for 1971 hit, 'Who’s Gonna Take the Weight.'


                            Who was Dennis Thomas' wife Phynjuar Saunders Thomas? 'Kool & the Gang' co-founder dies at 70
Dennis Thomas and his wife Phynjuar Saunders Thomas celebrate as Kool & The Gang perform at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on December 31, 2012, in Coconut Creek, Florida (Larry Marano/Getty Images)

Saxophonist and the co-founder of Kool & the Gang, Dennis Thomas, died on Saturday, August 7. The band announced the sad news adding that he died peacefully at his home in New Jersey. 

In a long Instagram post, Kool & the Gang's Instagram posted and wrote, "On August 7, 2021, Dennis Thomas (known as “Dee Tee”), beloved husband, father and a co-founder of Kool & the Gang, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 70 in New Jersey. Dennis was born on February 9, 1951, in Orlando, Florida. He was married to Phynjuar Saunders Thomas and was a long-time resident of Montclair, NJ. An original member of Kool & the Gang, Dennis was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, loved for his hip clothes and hats, and his laid-back demeanor. A huge personality while also an extremely private person, Dennis was the alto saxophone player, flutist, percussionist as well as master of ceremonies at the band’s shows. Dennis’ prologue featured on the groups 1971 hit, “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight” is legendary and an example of his showmanship. Dee Tee was the group’s wardrobe stylist who made sure they always looked fresh. In the band’s early days, Dennis also served as the “budget hawk”, carrying the group’s earnings in a paper bag in the bell of his horn. Dubbed “the opening of America” by CNN, Kool & the Gang kicked off the 2021 season of the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on the 4th of July. Sadly, this was Dennis’ farewell appearance with the band."

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Who is Dennis Thomas's wife?

Born on February 9, 1951, in Orlando, Florida, Thomas was known for his prologue on the band’s 1971 hit, 'Who’s Gonna Take the Weight,' which was a hit. Thomas, who was known for his hip dressing style and hats, was also the group’s wardrobe stylist. When the band started, Thomas served as the band's “budget hawk”, carrying their earnings in a paper bag stuffed into the bell of his horn, the statement said. In 1964, 17 friends created the group’s unique blend of jazz, soul and funk, at first calling themselves the Jazziacs, but they soon changed it to the 'Kool & the Gang' in 1969. The band's other founders are brothers Ronald and Robert Bell, and Spike Mickens, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith. The band has won two Grammy Awards and seven American Music Awards.

Dennis Thomas from Kool & the Gang performs on stage during the 11th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival - Day 1 at Sunlife Stadium on March 19, 2016, in Miami, Florida (Mychal Watts/Getty Images)

The band was also honored in 2014 with a Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award and their music is featured on film soundtracks, including those for 'Rocky', 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Pulp Fiction'. Thomas was married to Phynjuar Saunders Thomas. Apart from his wife, he is also survived by his daughter Tuesday Rankin and sons David Thomas and Devin Thomas.

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