Pastors' Memoirs

Philip Wesley Thomas Sr., 1913 – 2007

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2008 Memoirs

 Philip Wesley Thomas, Sr., felt the tug into ministry by the Holy Spirit as a young boy of 6 years old. Whenever there was a chicken, rabbit, or family pet that died, Phillip would stand on a stump or climb up into a tree and preach the funeral.
  Philip was born in Lara, Va., on May 15, 1913. He was one of four sons of Prince Albert and Evelyn Cockrell Thomas. He answered his call into ministry when he was 26 years old after graduating from Randolph-Macon College with a bachelor’s degree in art. In 1941, he married the other love of his life, Eleanor Louise Kellum. Philip’s loving wife supported them both while Philip attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Westminster, Md., and obtained a master’s degree in sacred theology.
  Between 1945 and 1980, Philip served: Lebanon-Providence (1945-1949), LaCrosse (1952-1956), Prospect (1956-1960), Bowling Green-Shiloh (1960-1964), Chincoteague (1964-1968), Stanleytown (1968-1971), Oak Grove/Chesapeake (1971-1975), Christ/Covington (1975-1980), retired in 1980, Shackleford Chapel (1984-1989), and was the volunteer chaplain at Thousand Trails Campground for 12 years.
  During his ministry, Philip served on numerous boards and committees on both the Virginia Conference and the district levels. When “Pop” Smith ran the Methodist Children’s Home, Philip took a youth group there every summer. He was, also, a familiar face at the Hermitage on the Eastern Shore. The Boy Scouts of America was close to Philip’s heart, where he served as a wonderfully dedicated scoutmaster. He was very active in all the communities of which he was appointed and held various offices in the Ruritan Club and the Masonic Lodge.
  Philip loved preaching, especially sermons dealing with the Ten Commandments. He never met a stranger, and loved everyone he met. Philip was known for being available “24/7” to the people in his congregations. There were interrupted meals, calls in the middle of the night, and vacations cut short, but he understood it as his service to God and to his family in Christ.
  Philip was taken home to be with the Lord on Sept. 18, 2007. He was loved, respected, and adored by everyone — especially his wife, Eleanor, of 66 years. In fact, Eleanor missed him so much, that within 11 weeks, she followed him into eternal glory on Dec. 13, 2007. They are both laid to rest on the grounds of Philip’s home church, Hopewell UMC, in Farnham, Va. Survivors include two children.
— Eleanor Thomas Bowen, daughter


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