Helen B. Thomas

Obituary
3 entries
  • "Aunt Helen, Thank you for bringing love and light to our..."
    - Mary, J.R., Chris,& Brent Persinger
  • "Aunt Helen, you were one of my favorite people to see when..."
    - Tricia Breedlove-Shaffer
  • "Dear family and step-family of Helen: She was a gracious..."
    - Leah Harness
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Helen Thomas known along Oakwood Street as a faithful walker took a special walk on Dec.23rd. She walked through the Pearly Gates to walk the streets of gold and was greeted by her familyand friends who preceded her. There were her father, mother, all of her brothers, the two loves of her life, Rhodney and Maynard, and her wonderful son-in-law Eddie Hodges. Also special friends: Florence, Minnie, Geneva, and Frances. Helen was born the only girl among six boys to Dessie Owen Breedlove of Jeter’s Chapel and Madison Bolling Breedlove, formerly of Alabama. She was born on December 31st, 1918. She said it was the night that all the animals all over the world knelt in stables to commemorate the birth of Jesus. It was Mama’s story, so of course we believed it. She was her Mother’s helper all her life, especially with her younger brothers. She graduated from Montvale High School and continued to live with and care for her family until one day when she was at the spring getting water. A handsome young man by the name of Rhodney Nester stopped by the spring when the traintook on water for the steam engines. The rest they say ishistory. He asked her Father for her hand in marriage and they were married on June 25th1938. From that union came Nancy and Cindy. She was content to care for her family but after unsuccessfully trying to have her daughters pursue a career in nursing, she decided shewould become a nurse and started school in her 40’s. She graduated as an LPN from Roanoke Memorial and her career included that hospital and later Bedford Memorial. She was praised and lauded for her skills, compassion, and her special ability to nurture and mentor younger staff. After Rhodney’s death in 1987 and her children, married with children, she began a more active social life, much of it centered around her church. She was a member of the Blue Ridge Church of the Brethren all of her life and attended up until her hospitalization. In 2001 she married Maynard Thomas whose wife Eileen had died. They were family friends for many years. Helen and Maynard had a lovely church wedding that neither had in previous marriages. From this marriage came with it a whole new extended family and brought much joy and blessings to all. After Maynard’s death she continued to lead a healthy and active life. She baked the best pound cakes and generously shared them with everyone. Her flowers were a great joy and the fall leaves were a great aggravation to her. She found fellowship with the Red Hats and founded the “tree ladies”. Most every afternoon there would be three or more sitting under that wonderful shade tree in her front yard sharing stories and memories and we can only imagine what else. The tree ladies varied from time to time but you could always find Phyllis, Bessie and Bella. Irrespective of the weather she would walk 1-2 miles each day often with her very best friend Phyllis Scott. Always faithful to her church and having given up driving her big blue Lincoln; Martha and Marvin Edwards arranged to take her to all of the services and special occasions. Due to the dedication of David (who could always make her laugh and be happy), Mary, Barbara, Ronnie, Johnny and Jane; she was able to live independently within the home she and Maynard had made. After her injury and during her time in the hospital and Oakwood Manor, she was blessed with faithfulness of friends with visits, cards, flowers, and calls. Especially faithful were: Phyllis, Mary B., Judy, Bessie, Audrey, and Linda. The staff gave her compassionate and dedicated care, among them most appreciated: Dr. Buchanan, Hannah, Heather, Dawn, Kristen, Bill, Bryce, Darren, Carrie, Kim, and Robin. She leaves behind to remember and rejoice in her life her two daughters, Nancy Johnson and Cindy Nester. Son-in-law Danny Lee Johnson. Grandsons Dan L. Johnson, Shannon T. Johnson (Donna), and James Tyler Hodges (Shan). A very special granddaughter Dina Cahow. Great-grandchildren Zoe and Alex Johnson of Seattle, Jordon Cahow Johnson (Lindsey), Joshua Todd Cahow, and Elizabeth Lorin Cahow. Great-great grandchildren Dixon Smith, Finnegan Johnson, and Dorian Johnson. A special niece Mary Catherine B. Persinger (J.R) and Brent. Also very specially her step-children John M Thomas, Jr. (Jane) David Thomas (Mary), Barbara T Saunders (Ronnie). Step Grandchildren, Frank Thomas (Alicia), Stacey T Arrington (Kent), Wendy T. Knott (Kenneth), Carrie T. Crouch (Lee), Tim Saunders, Stuart Saunders (Shawna), Sara S. Bridges (Scott), Step great- grand children. Christen Thomas, Sidney Puckette, Ethan Arrrington, Thomas Crouch, Emma Arrington, Colin Bridges, AddaLynn Saunders and Charlotte Bridges. A memorial service will be conducted at the Blue Ridge Church of the Brethren on January 4th at 2:00pm with pastors Leah Harness and Glen Stevenspresiding. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall after the service. Although Helen loved her flowers, she wished those wanting to make memorials do so to the Blue Ridge Church of the Brethren Memorial Fund. The address is PO Box 506, Blue Ridge Va. 24064 Arrangements by Oakey’s East Chapel, 540-977-3909.
Funeral Home
Oakey’s East Chapel
5188 Cloverdale Road
Roanoke, VA 24019
(540) 977-3909
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Published in Bedford Bulletin from Dec. 31, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015
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