MEBANE - Mr. Lionel James Thomas Sr., son of the late Wilbert and Dorothy Harrison Thomas of Washington, D.C., died in the home of his fiancée, Betty Miles Haith, on Jan. 30, 2014, after a lingering illness of several months.
Lionel was 76 years of age, born March 15, 1937. He was the youngest of four sons. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Yolanda Thomas; and an older brother, James.
Lionel was a star athlete in high school and tried out for a professional football team. He was employed by the United States Printing Office in Washington for 42 years, where he led and won a 16 year battle against discrimination at that office. They won job equality and several million dollars in that settlement. He said "I did it for them not for me, even though they seemed ungrateful." He also owned and ran a limousine service for many years.
Lionel grew up as a Catholic, attending the Catholic School for Boys for many years. He later converted to Baptist. He was a member of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Sunset Beach, N.C. He moved to Sunset Beach after retirement and later to Mebane, N.C.
A bedside service was held for Lionel, led by Minister Eugene Jeffers. In attendance were several friends and 'adopted' family members. Lionel had a unique sense of humor and was loved by all who knew him. He could tell you some stories about the Presidents and the wars that went on while he was with the government; he really had an interesting inside view of things.
He leaves to mourn his loss a son, Lionel James Thomas Jr. (LaVonn) of Upper Marlboro, Md.; four grandchildren, Jordan, Matthew and Lauren Thomas and Sevonne Ruth of Baltimore, Md.; one great-grandchild, Kylie; two brothers, Wilbert Thomas of Washington, D.C. and Arthur Thomas (Verna) of Churchville, Va.; an ex-wife, Catherine Thomas of Kissimmee, Fla.; a fiancée, Betty Miles Haith, of Mebane, N.C.; special friends, Jackie Vereen, Kathy, Katrina and Dorothy; and a host of relatives and friends.