Earl Thomas

1939 - December 24, 2020

MR. WALTER EARL THOMAS, age 81, of Eastman, GA, died Thursday, December 24, 2020, at his daughter’s residence in Gresston after a long, courageous fight with Parkinson’s disease.

Obituary for Earl Thomas

MR. WALTER EARL THOMAS, age 81, of Eastman, GA, died Thursday, December 24, 2020, at his daughter’s residence in Gresston after a long, courageous fight with Parkinson’s disease.

Graveside services will be held at 2:00 pm Saturday, January 2nd, at Rockwell Baptist Church cemetery in Milan with Rev. Benny Moore and Rev. Alvin Lewis officiating.

Earl was born in Milan, GA, and was a member of Rockwell Baptist Church where he served as deacon for many years. He was a 1957 graduate of Milan High School where he was a star basketball player. After high school, Earl worked at Roydon Wear in McRae, GA. He also scouted cotton all over the state for the University of Georgia. He later attended ABAC in Tifton, GA, where he graduated with an associate’s degree in agriculture. Earl was also proud to be a Georgia Bulldog! He graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education as well as a master’s degree in educational leadership. While attending UGA, he worked as a floral designer at Flowers Inc. there in Athens. Earl was a retired educator of 37 years. He taught vocational agriculture in both Bryan County and Dodge County. He was also an FFA advisor, a former high school administrator, and a former Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teacher of the Year. The greenhouse located at Dodge County Middle School, formerly Dodge County High School, was named the “W. Earl Thomas Greenhouse” in his honor. Earl also served for over 34 years as the Dodge County High School basketball official scorekeeper. He was a former board member and chairman of the Eastman Housing Authority. From 1999 to 2010, he served as the maintenance director for the Eastman Housing Authority. Earl was a member and past master of the Eugene Smith Masonic Lodge #279. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves. Earl was the son of the late Lula Mae Yawn Thomas and the late Virgil Lee Thomas, Sr. He was preceded in death by four brothers, Virgil Lee Thomas, Jr. (Alma), James E. Thomas, Robert E. Thomas (Elizabeth), and Harry L. Thomas, as well as his mother-in-law, Freddie Langston Bennett.

Earl is survived by his wife of 51 years - Lynn Bennett Thomas of Eastman; three daughters - Dana Thomas Brown of Eastman, Carrie Thomas Watkins (Brian) of Milan, and Brooke Thomas Graham (Marty) also of Milan; eleven grandchildren - Ella, Greta, Caroline, Kayla, Mally, Brianna (Caleb), Kacie (Joseph), Nathaniel, Leah Marie, Crystal, and Hunter; five great-grandchildren - Briana, Malayna, MJ, Graycen, and Kason; brother - Henry Grady Thomas (Edele) of Tamarac, FL; three sisters-in-law - Myrtis Thomas of Tryon, NC, Belinda Thomas of McRae, GA, and Nancy Wiseman of Helen, GA; two brothers-in-law - Larry Bennett (Deborah) of Ivey, GA and Randy Bennett of Eastman; several nieces and nephews; special family friend - Nell Pollard.

Mr. Thomas will lie-in-state at Stokes-Southerland Funeral Home in Eastman from 8:30 am to 11:00 am on January 2nd as well as from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm on January 2nd in Rockwell Baptist Church. In addition to flowers, the family requests contributions to Rockwell Baptist Church (℅ Joy Stanley), 255 Preston Spires Lane, Rhine, GA 31077; Camp Good Grief (℅ Hospice Care Options), 715 Legion Drive, Eastman, GA 31023; or the Masonic Home of Georgia (℅ Grand Lodge Secretary), P.O. Box 4665, Macon, GA 31208. Serving as pallbearers are Eddie Thomas, Joseph Thomas, Neal Stanley, Tommy Bowers, Christopher Bennett, and Elvis Davis.

The family may be contacted at the home of Dana Thomas Brown, 162 Gresston Baptist Rd., Eastman.

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