Asheville - Ronnie Lee Thomas beloved husband, cherished father, devoted grandfather (Taps) and friend to all is now at peace after a courageous battle with Parkinson's and Lewy Body dementia. He was 72 at his death on January 1, 2013. A love for life, you never saw him without a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He lived his life with devotion and love which he shared tirelessly with his family. He showed compassion for everyone. Ronnie enjoyed reading Westerns, as he always had a book in hand. He shared his love of music by singing in the choir at St. George's Episcopal Church. His whimsical humor and a joke for every occasion would leave you with a stitch in your side. There was never a kinder or gentler man with his caring touch, soft words and warm spirit, which would inevitable make your day brighter.
Ronnie was born in Marshall, NC and was the apple of his mother's eye. The fond memories he shared of running barefoot over the swinging footbridge to his house. He spoke of the swimming hole that cooled him off in the summer and the special bond and relationship that he shared with his parents and sisters. He never forgot these special times.
Ronnie met the love of his life, Marsha Hamlin, in 1960. The two were married in July 1963 and were married for 49 years. The love and devotion that they shared was a bond never broken, a love never to be undone.
Ronnie was extremely proud of his two children Katherine and Mark. He was always there to guide and pick them up whenever needed. He was not only a father but a friend as well. He loved them dearly.
His grandchildren Zachary, Connor and Madison were his pride and joy. Whether it was picking them up after school or taking them to Taekwon Do, he loved every minute. In his last years his time was spent watching them play, the love and pride could be seen in his face and eyes.
Ronnie worked for A & P and Ingles Markets. He retired as manager from the Ingles store on Merrimom Avenue in 2002. His employees and customers were an extension of his family. Ronnie knew each customer by name. He was a true friend to everyone. "Papa's Home" and at peace.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Theodore Roosevelt and Vina Thomas.
He is survived by his wife Marsha Hamlin Thomas, his daughter Katherine Thomas of Asheville, NC and two children, Zachary and Connor Crain and son Mark Thomas of Asheville, NC, his wife Melissa Ackert and two children, Madison Thomas and Nitara Kittles. He is also survived by his sisters Shirley Cole, Winder, GA, Janice Roberts, Swannanoa, NC and Patricia Owenby, Fairview, NC. He is survived by his grandmother Lora Thomas of Hot Springs, NC.
A Celebration of Life will be held at St. George's Episcopal Church, One School Road, Asheville, NC at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, with the Rev. Beth Darling officiating. A reception will follow the service in the parish hall. The family will have a private burial on Sunday, January 6, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. George's Episcopal Church, 1 School Rd., Asheville, NC 28806, or to CarePartners Hospice of Asheville, PO Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813.
Groce Funeral Home on Patton Ave. is assisting the family, and the online register is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com