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Theodore B. Thomas Jr.

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Rev. Theodore B. Thomas Jr. HARTSVILLE Funeral service for Rev. Theodore B. Thomas, Jr. will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist. Entombment will follow in Darlington Memory Gardens directed by Hines Funeral Home, Inc. Rev. Thomas was born in Orangeburg, July 1, 1923, to the late Rev. Theodore Brandon and Wilhelmina Minus Thomas, Sr. Affectionately known as "Coach" he devoted his life to the church, his family, community service and to teaching and inspiring young people to realize their full potential. His father was a Methodist minister and after completing his studies at Claflin University, accepted an appointment in Florida, moving his young family there. The Florida climate did not agree with his father, who suffered from asthma, so the family moved back to South Carolina when he was two. He attended South Carolina schools until he was fourteen, then returned to Jacksonville, Florida, and enrolled at Stanton High School. While a student there, Thomas was elected captain of the men's varsity basketball team and "Most Outstanding Athlete" of his 1940 senior class. While a student there, Thomas was elected captain of the men's varsity basketball team and "Most Outstanding Athlete" of his 1940 senior class. After high school he received a full scholarship to South Carolina State College, where he received All American Football honors. In 1944, his college studies were interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army during WWII. While in the military, Thomas participated in the Pacific Olympics in Saipan in the spring of 1945, winning a bronze medal in the discus competition. Returning to complete his college education after the war, he graduated with a B.S. degree from South Carolina State University in 1947 and completed the M.S degree from Indiana University. Thomas also completed further study at Michigan State University. Prior to moving to Hartsville and teaching at Butler in 1950, Thomas was Dean of Men and Assistant Coach at Claflin University. He taught for more than 30 years at Butler High School, was President of the Darlington Teachers Association and the Darlington County Education Association, retiring from the school system in 1982. He also served as Athletic Director and Head Coach at Butler amassing a basketball record of 584-144 that included two State championships. His record also includes the following: South Carolina Nominee-National Basketball Coach of the Year 1979; Four Football Conference Championships; Two Football State Runner-ups/Football Career RecordWon 161, Lost 60; State Basketball Coach of the year-1980; Regional Basketball Coach of the Year-1981; Two State Basketball Championships-1968,1980; State Basketball Runner-ups- 1969, 1970,1975; Sixteen Conference Basketball Championships; Winner of Twenty Basketball Tournaments; Conference Basketball Coach of the Year-Fourteen Times; Basketball Career Record-Won 584, Lost 144; One of sixty-five players inducted into the South Carolina State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998 and recognized as one of the "100 Most Outstanding Players" in the long storied history of South Carolina State University in 2007. Heeding the call to ministry, Thomas followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Dr. Daniel M. Minus, founder of Sterling High School in Greenville. He became a licensed minister in the Methodist Church in 1947. While an ordained minister, he also served as an associate chaplain at McCleod Regional Medical Center. His UMC Conference appointments included the York Charge, 1960; Pageland Charge (Salem UMC and Oro UMC), 1961-1973; Latta Charge (Andrews Chapel UMC, St. Phillips UMC, and Glen Chapel UMC), 1973-1993; retired Supply Pastor, Mount Zion UMC; Retired Supply Pastor, New Hope UMC; then returned to Pageland and fully retired in 2002. He also completed Advanced Course Study for Certification at Duke University. In 1985, he won a Hartsville City Council seat and quickly gained a reputation of being a business-like problem solver. His years on council were some of Hartsville's most prosperous, in no small part due to the leadership and vision he provided during that time. As a council member, Thomas also served as Mayor Pro Tem and was one of the earliest to see the potential of a comprehensive recreational complex that ultimately became Byerly Park. In 1999, Thomas was named Citizen of the Year by the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce. Retiring from City Council in 2007, city officials formally dedicated the $2.2 million, 23,000-square-foot, multi-use facility The Coach T.B. Thomas Sports Center, named in his honor in 2008. In January 2011, as students, coaches, and, parents gathered, another facility was dedicated in his honor at Hartsville High School, "The Hewitt-Thomas Basketball Court." Thomas was inducted into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Omicron Chapter at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, and has served as Basileus and in other leadership roles in the following Chapters: Xi PsiSouth Carolina State University; Epsilon Omega-Orangeburg; Chi Iota-Florence; and co-founder of Alpha Beta Beta-Hartsville. In 2013, he was a proud and humbled Omega Man celebrating 70 glorious years of service as 34th Grand Basileus, Tyrone Gilmore, Sr., along with other Omegas in the area were out in mass attendance to celebrate his 70-year milestone in his beloved fraternity. Family was very important to Thomas. He was a much loved husband, father, and grandfather, and welcomed his first great-grandchild, Liam Brandon Thomas in 2012. He met and married the former Lovis Rebecca Thompson from Pendleton, South Carolina, whom he called his "Lady" and she called him "Tom." Together they worked in the church and community on many boards and commissions to make the community a better place to live in. Thomas was delighted when he and his wife were chosen as a community "power couple" and then asked to be the Grand Marshall's in Hartsville's annual Christmas parade in 2004. Their marriage produced two children, Brandolyn Thomas Pinkston and Dr. Theodore Brandon Thomas, III and four grandchildren, Paula Clanton Payton, Dr. Torrence N. Thomas, Christopher Brandon Thomas and Joya Lee Pinkston. He loved his family and they loved him back he will be deeply missed. Mourning his loss are his beloved and devoted wife, Lovis Thompson Thomas; his daughter Brandolyn Thomas Pinkston (Jerome) of Columbia; his son, Dr. Theodore B. Thomas, III (Janice) of Clinton, North Carolina; grandchildren, Paula Clanton Payton (Tony) of Orangeburg, Dr. Torrence Nathaniel Thomas (Lena) of Washington, DC, Christopher Brandon Thomas (Daphne) of Charlotte, Joya Lee Pinkston of Columbia; a brother-in-law, Tenus F. Thompson of Lawrenceville, Virginia; a nephew, Tenus F. Thompson, Jr. and a niece, Paula C. Thompson of Chesapeake, Virginia and many, many other relatives and friends. The family would also like to thank Dr. James Bell, who took extraordinary care of him, along with the health professionals at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center and Morrell Center in Hartsville. Friday: Omega service - 5 p.m., public viewing 6 p.m. at T.B. Thomas Sports Complex, Hartsville. Saturday: Funeral service at 2 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church. Memorials on behalf of Theodore B. Thomas may be made to the: Butler Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 461, Hartsville,SC 29551.

Published in The State on Apr. 4, 2014
Funeral Home
Hines Funeral Home, Inc.
833 South 6th Street Hartsville, SC 29551
(843) 332-1771
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