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Thomas Stovall


1949 - 2019
Thomas Stovall Obituary
Thomas Collins Stovall
1949-2019
Thomas "Tom" Collins Stovall, 79, passed away peacefully Friday, November 29, 2019 in Houston, TX. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. William Laffayette Stovall; brother William Laffayette (Bill) Stovall, Jr.; beloved Aunt Genevieve "Jadie" Adams; and partner of twenty years, Leonard Tharp.
He is survived by his beloved sisters Amy Echols & Anita Smith, their husbands James Echols & Eddie Smith, as well as his treasured nieces and nephews; Sarah Karges, Will Karges, Ian Smith, William Collins Smith, and MaryNell Smith; great-nephew and -niece, William Smith and Blair Smith.
Tom was born in Houston, on September 28, 1940. He attended Roberts Elementary, Pershing Junior High, and was in the first graduating class at Bellaire High School. Beginning a life-long appreciation for the automobile, he was the youngest member of the Horseless Carriage Club in Houston and restored his Model T as a teenager, which he drove back and forth to high school. He attended Stephen F. Austin College and upon graduation enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving two years, 1967-1969. After the Army, he worked in medical sales with W.H. Curtin Co. and Schering Diagnostics. With his partner, Leonard Tharp, he built the premier florist, Leonard Tharp, Inc., which served Houston's society through 1988. During that time, they published "An American Style of Flower Arrangement." They later moved to Washington, D.C. where Leonard taught for two years with the American Horticultural Society, lecturing throughout the United States.
Following the loss of his partner, Leonard, his brother, Bill, and many dear friends, to AIDS, Tom dedicated the next two years of his life to the Peace Corps in Lesotho, in southern Africa, where he educated the local community about AIDS prevention. Originally recruited for small business development, Tom would go on to develop a manual for AIDS education for the incoming Peace Corp volunteers. Though many of his Peace Corp friends were half his age, they became life-long friends. Most prominently, Tom Lefor of Portland, Oregon, who became a frequent guest or host every year since.
After the Peace Corp, Tom became the patriarch of his family, acting as a great mentor to his nieces, nephews, and their friends. He also was a pillar of support for his sisters. In his later years, he had a design business with Alice Wilson, and shared his love of antiques in several retail establishments.
A memorial service will be held at 11 A.M. on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, 6221 Main St., Houston, Texas 77030. A private burial will take place at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery at a later date. For friends wishing to make a memorial donation, please consider SPCA Houston, AIDS Foundation Houston, or a .
Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 8, 2019
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