Mr. Samuel Earl Thomas
Samuel Earl Thomas
Mr. Samuel Earl Thomas was born on January 2, 1927 in Cape Charles, Virginia to Rufus Thomas and Helen Bynum was reared in Salem, New Jersey by his aunt and uncle. He attended and graduated from a boarding school in Virginia and enlisted in the United States Army from 1948-1952. He worked in the U.S. Government Printing office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and retired in the early 1980s. Mr. Thomas furthered his education and obtained degrees in Mortuary Science and obtained licensure as a Mortician, Funeral Director, Cosmetologist and Insurance Agent.
In 1982, Mr. Thomas came to Thomasville, North Carolina and founded S. E. Thomas Funeral Service, Incorporated. He endeavored to make the funeral home a vital part of the community. To achieve this goal Mr. Thomas served as a commissioner of the Thomasville Housing Authority and on the boards of Crime Stoppers and Communities in Schools. Sam was an active advocate and regular contributor to public education and to all area school athletics and academic programs.
Mr. Thomas' additional civic involvement included service on the Board of Hospice of the Piedmont and Habitat for Humanity, where he donated three tracts of land to be given to low-income families in Thomasville. Not many people give $14,000 to a total stranger, but this act of service represented the life stewardship of Mr. Thomas. He also served on the boards of the Thomasville Salvation Army, Community General Hospital and the United Way of Davidson County. Sam proudly served as a faithful member of the Thomasville Lion's Club and Davidson Pride #157 Masonic Lodge.
Sam was a member of Central United Methodist Church where he served as a Trustee, a member of the United Methodist Men and on the administrative council. He was a strong financial supporter of his church, especially the Sunday School and other ministries. In recognition of his service to the Thomasville area, Mr. Thomas received the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizens Award, the NAACP Citizen of the Year Award, Tom A. Finch Community YMCA Triangle Award, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Action Committee Award.
With all of his community service, Mr. Thomas' greatest joy was in private and anonymous help to individuals including financial support, encouragement, college tuition support, down payments on homes and cars, regular monetary and in-kind donations to every church that approached him. He also provided many letters of support, recommendations to help others obtain jobs, college admission and potential scholarship recipients. Samuel E. Thomas lived the values he believed: that Christian stewardship required love and service to your fellow man. "S. E." will be remembered for his distinguished personal style, his articulate and elegant demeanor, his business savvy and for his benevolence and devotion to the Chair City. He will be missed by all the lives he touched and all the paths he crossed.