Let us not mourn Irene Drayton's homegoing but celebrate her life as she was a devoted Christian; the world was a brighter and better place for her having been a part of our lives.
Our beloved Irene Thomas Drayton was the second of seven children born to the union of James and Lucille Thomas on March 9, 1933 in Pelham, Georgia. She attended both elementary and high school in Pelham. While still a young lady, she moved to Jacksonville Beach with very prominent business owners who owned several hotels in the area.
At an early age, Irene was baptized at New Hope Baptist Church in Pelham, Georgia. Having a strong Christian background was a major part of her personality, so when she moved to the Jacksonville area, she immediately started with the Roberts Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church. Then she joined New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church under Reverend George Curry, which presently is under the leadership of Reverend Marvin Nash.
As a member of New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, she served in the Choir and on the Usher Board; she was the Secretary of the church, she regularly attended Prayer Meetings and supported Bible Study. She was also well known for her culinary skills and she assisted with financial drives.
Irene worked devotedly in various capacities of missionary work such as feeding and serving the homeless in shelters in and around JAX Beach. She also worked with the SHARE program in providing food to low-income families in the local area by traveling to and from Orlando to pick up and distribute food items. As a member of the Never Grow Old Club, Irene organized and oversaw the arts & crafts activities for seniors in local centers and distributed flowers to local nursing homes. As a member of Church Women United of the Beaches, Irene attended retreats in various locations in and out of the state to broaden her knowledge and skills in Christian service. Irene was a major part of a citizens group which addressed the concerns and welfare of her community. One such example was the issue of no thru street access between the fire department and her community neighborhood. After several fires impacted the area, Irene was instrumental in working with the city government to have a street established that provided access and shortened the response times allowing the fire trucks to reach the community faster saving property and helping families. Finally, Irene served for many years as President of Lily White Lodge #121 working to preserve the principles of friendship, truth, brotherly love, justice and charity.
For her philanthropic efforts, Irene was presented with several awards from New Friendship Baptist Church, as well as awards from the Lily Security Benefit Association of Florida; the Margaret Wingfield Community Service Award and several Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.) awards.
In the workplace, she completed all assignments with exceptional pleasure and attitude. She excelled in her places of employment: the Selva Marina Country Club (Atlantic Beach) for twenty-one years as a chef; and for the Weed family for twenty-two years as a private home caregiver where she safely guided their three daughters from infancy to adulthood. This bond of love still exists today.
Irene's favorite hobbies were outdoor gardening, fishing, bowling and especially cooking (she was an outstanding cook).
Danny and Irene were united in Holy Matrimony on December 1st of 1977 by taking a solemn vow until death do us part. They were together for many years. Preceding her in death were her husband, Danny; her mother, Lucille Bryant Thomas; her father, James Thomas Sr.; two of her brothers: James Thomas Jr. and Nathaniel Thomas; her older sister, Mamie Belle Cochran and her brother-in-law, Isaac Cochran.
She leaves to cherish her life: her two sisters Annie R. Thomas of Hollywood, Florida and Maudie M. Murray of Cleveland, Ohio; one brother Johnny Thomas of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; a close cousin, Cynthia P. Mitchell of Hilton Head, South Carolina; several aunts and uncles, many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and a host of church family and friends.
Irene Drayton was escorted to her heavenly home by Gods own Angels on Thursday, November 4, 2021. Viewing will be held November 20, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. with services to follow at 1:00 pm at Beaches Memorial Park, 1500 Main St., Atlantic Beach.
Online Tributes can be made at www.cartersfuneralhome.com
Arrangements by Sarah Carter Funeral Home.
Published by The Beaches Leader from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2021.