Waverly Nelson Thomas, Jr.
December 7, 1943 – November 26, 2020
Waverly Nelson Thomas, Jr., 76, of Palmyra, peacefully transitioned at his home on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020 after a year-long valiant fight with pancreatic cancer.
He was born on December 7, 1943 in Newport News, Virginia, a son of the late Reverend Waverly Nelson Thomas and Pearl Edna (Tynes) Thomas. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Carolyn Thomas; three sisters, Marie Williams, Shirley Jackson, and Tara Thomas; and one brother, Marvin Morton.
He is survived by his wife, Dolores Thomas; two daughters, Valerie and Tammi Thomas; one son, Kevin Thomas and wife Keisha Thomas; three granddaughters, Khalia, Kaia, and Kelise Thomas; one grandson, Kamaal Thomas, all of Palmyra; a step-mother, Annie Thomas of Palmyra; five brothers, John Thomas (Frances) of Midland, North Carolina, Darryl and DeMarco Thomas of Richmond, Robert Thomas of West Virginia, Ronald Thomas of Palmyra; four sisters, Phyllis Anderson (Russell) of Palmyra, Rose Leabough (William) of Goochland, Linda Carter of Palmyra, Regina Thomas of Fork Union; one uncle, Earl Thomas of Fork Union; numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family, and friends.
Walking the earth in love doesn’t require perfection. It requires a willing heart and an obedient spirit. For 76 years, Waverly N. Thomas, Jr. embodied that heart and spirit with conviction and an electrifying smile. All who ever came in contact with him know this to be true. He didn’t just talk love; he walked it out every day of his life. He walked it as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a cousin, a mentor and a friend. He walked it as a two-tour Vietnam Veteran. He walked it for 35 years as a GE FANUC employee and in his retirement as a self-employed electrician and part-time landfill employee. His love of music would announce his presence from his approaching vehicle or at his home. As an athlete himself, his love of sport made him an ever-present cheerleader at the sporting events of his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and any other young athlete in need of encouragement. His love of family and friends made him a provider and faithful servant. When pancreatic cancer attacked, he asked one question. “How long do I have to live?” With courage, strength, and conviction he fought to live while preparing to die. (“For to be absent from the body is to be present with God”). Cancer couldn’t keep him down. As a matter of fact, he walked faster and with more purpose. He pushed a “two to four months” life expectancy prognosis to a year working to accomplish everything he wanted to finish. Waverly N. Thomas, Jr. finished the work and transitioned peacefully in his sleep on Thanksgiving Day.
A drive-thru home-going service will be held at 1pm on Saturday, (12/5/2020), at New Fork Baptist church in Palmyra, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, please consider an act of kindness, mentorship or service to someone in need in his honor. Walk in love.
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