Leroy James Thomas, age 88, of Mena, Arkansas passed away Thursday, October 18, 2018 in Mena.
He was born September 8, 1930 in Kansas City, Missouri to the late Ralph S. Thomas and Ethel Wholf Thomas. In 1933, the Thomas family moved to DeQueen, Arkansas where Leroy would spend his childhood and graduate from DeQueen High School in 1948. The Korean War came along and Leroy joined the Air Force in 1950 and served for 4 years. He married Joann Phillips on June 14, 1952. After his discharge from the Air Force in 1954, he attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and graduated with a Business Degree in 1956. After graduation, Leroy and Joann moved to Elgin, Illinois where he worked for the Elgin Watch Company and attended Elgin Watchmakers College, graduating in 1957.
He, Joann and family moved to Mena in 1957 and opened Thomas Jewelry Store. The store was in operation for 45 years until his retirement in 2002. He enjoyed fishing and traveling but his favorite pastime was the morning meetings at the coffee shop with the guys. After retirement, he continued to work out of his home repairing watches and clocks until recent days. He had an incredible memory and was knowledgeable on any subject.
Leroy was a member of Christ Community Fellowship church. He was a member and past President of the Mena Lion’s club. He served on the Polk County Draft Board throughout the Vietnam War. Leroy served as on the Board of Directors of First National Bank for many years and was a Board member of the Rich Mountain Community College Foundation. He was most proud of serving on the Housing Authority Board and received a 50 Year Award for service and was the second person in Arkansas to be honored with this award.
Leroy was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Ethel Thomas; his sister, Lemira Jane Thomas Emery. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Joann Phillips Thomas; his son, Stanley R. Thomas of Fayetteville, AR; his daughters, Judy A. McMillan and late husband Russ of Dallas, TX and Sandy L. Bartholomew and husband Dwight of Prairie Grove, AR. His 5 grandchildren, Philip Robertson and wife Kristin; Jenni Robertson Parenica and husband Aaron; Zach Davis and wife Ashley; Matthew Thomas; and Amber Thomas; plus 9 great-grandchildren. Also, brother and sister-law Sidney and Diane Phillips; sister-in-law Peggy Phillips; nephew, Steve Phillips and wife Kathy; nieces, Cindy Buchanan, Mitzi Peters and Ray, Kristy Phillips,Terri Lynn Jones, and special “nephew” Shelton.
Funeral Service will be held Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Christ Community Fellowship followed by burial in the Pine Crest Cemetery under the direction of the Beasley Wood Funeral Home of Mena
Family and friends visitation will be Monday, October 22, 2018 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Beasley Wood Chapel.
Pallbearers will be Stokes Herod, Gary Newcomb,, Harold Coogan, Randolph Emerson,Bo Collins and Philip Hensley.
Honorary pallbearers are Gayle Ford, Larry Byers, Henry Sunderman and Earl Blemmel.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Christ Community Fellowship.