Obituary: Parthenia Thomas

January 30, 2022
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Parthenia "Pat" Thomas was a caring mother, grandmother, sister and generous friend. After a courageous battle with a respiratory illness, she peacefully departed Jan. 25, 2022. As she fought this battle, Parthenia taught us all what faith and perseverance look like. No matter how ill she may have been, she made it her mission to brighten someone’s day.

Parthenia was the eldest of eight children, born in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 12, 1945, to Eldridge and Curtycine (Thomas) Tanksley. At an early age the family moved to Oklahoma City, Okla., where she attended and graduated from Douglass High School in 1964. While in high school, Parthenia met her lifelong friend, Carol Toler and they, along with six other close friends, founded the charitable organization Ebony 8. Parthenia continued her studies at Langston University. She later wed and through that union bore her only child Christal Thomas. She eventually made Dallas, Texas, her home.

During her 30-year career with General Motors, Parthenia was an active member with the United Auto Workers (UAW) local chapter, as well as the GM Women’s Committee. In 2001, the UAW chose her to represent the chapter in carrying the torch for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was a proud moment for her, and she did the task with her usual grace and beauty.

Parthenia was a loving mother and even more loving grandmother. She said one of her fondest memories was having her grandson born on her birthday. She loved to cook and create and surround herself in beautiful things. One of her favorite hobbies was arts and crafts and creating floral arrangements – a gift shared with her daughter.

As a longtime member of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Parthenia was active within the Seniors Ministry and served on the decorating committee. Through fellowship with this group, she created valuable friendships and was blessed with a wonderful church home and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Curtycine (Thomas) Tanksley and Eldridge Tanksley; three brothers Johnell Tanksley, Darryl Oliver and Clarence Merrell; and sister, Wilma Allen (Merrell).

She is survived by her daughter, Christal Thomas; grandson, Saigeon Weimer; brother Michael Merrell Sr.; sister, Jacqueline Merrell; and sister, Sheila Oliver; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Pat was a beautiful, radiant, caring and generous woman of God, who never hesitated to extend a helping hand to those she knew and some she didn’t know at all. She doted on those she loved and was loved by many, and her illuminating spirit will truly be missed by those who were blessed to know her.

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