Pastors' Memoirs

William Alan Thomas, 1927-1996

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Bill was born in Mathews County, Virginia, December 4, 1927, to the late William V. Thomas and Irene H. Thomas. He graduated from Mathews County Public Schools. Following graduation he worked as a carpenter for six years. During this time, he was an active member of St. Paul’s Methodist Church, where he taught a Sunday school class.

The call to the ministry came at a very young age for Bill, but the resources were not available for him to attend college. In 1949, he married a high school classmate, Winifred White, who had become a registered nurse. Through their combined efforts he was able to attend Trinity College and Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, in preparation for God’s work.

Bill joined the Virginia Methodist conference in 1956, serving the South Halifax Charge. While there, the charge divided and a new parsonage was built. He went on to serve Oak Hall on the Eastern Shore; Monroe; Fairview - Roanoke; Fairview - Lawrence; Greenwood - Glen Allen; Mechanicsville; McKendree- Norfolk; Trinity - Poquoson; Culmore, Falls Church; Urbanna; Singleton - Rappahannock District; Memorial - Petersburg.

The following was said of Bill as he was preparing to leave an appointment: "Where have the years gone? In retrospect, ours seems to have been but a brief acquaintance; a fleeting glance; the proverbial two ships that meet and pass at night. But look at the multitude of good works, thoughts, and deeds left behind. We of the church are materially richer for your having been here, in that our parsonage now has a garage; our church hall has been completed and improvements have been made to the parsonage. All of this, of course, with the labor free."

"Yet these material riches fade into pale insignificance when compared to the spiritual treasures you leave with us. The Sunday sermon; the patient explanations have instilled in us a deep abiding conviction in our faith that will remain with us — to the last day."

Bill was an avid gardener, fisherman and had a love for woodworking. He left evidence of these hobbies wherever he lived.

In 1993, Bill retired from the ministry and returned to Mathews County. There he kept busy with his woodwork projects, and in season fishing and gardening.

Bill died December 16, 1996, at his retirement home "Gulls Rest" in Mathews. He was preceded in death by a son, Alan Gordon Thomas. Bill is survived by his wife, Winifred; two daughters, Teresa and Jamie; two sons, William L. and John R.; two daughters-in-law, Sharon and Brenda; and five grandchildren, Sheena, Virginia, Elizabeth, Kathryn and David.

A grave side service was held December 19, 1996, at St. Paul’s Cemetery. His children and grandchildren read his favorite scriptures and verses as a tribute to a much loved dad and granddad.

We will miss you, Dad.

- William, John, Teresa and Jamie



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
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