Obituary of Patricia Turlington "Pat" Thomas
There’s no question when she arrived on Monday, August 21, she stopped and pulled a few weeds around the front gates before heading in; even heaven can use a little help now and then. She chatted for a long, easy while with everyone who had gathered to greet her; especially her cherished Granny.
In the wake of this immense grief for the loss of our Pat, our mama, our Goggi, our Lollie - we are assured she has found her eternal holy ground, skillfully tilled with the perfect amount of sunlight and an abundance of composted concoctions.
Pat was born on August 20, 1942 in Erwin, NC; a region rich in tobacco fields and a cacophony of cicadas across the humid summers. Her parents, the late Woodrow and Margaret Turlington, doted on their only child but it was her petite-framed Granny who lived next door who gave Pat her tenacity and spirit.
Pat’s heart belonged to her beloved Ray for over 60 years. Introduced through a mutual friend, Ray chose her out of a high-school yearbook as his blind date for the mid-winter dance at Davidson College in 1961.
On August 22, 1964 Pat won her first marital fight when Ray stood at the end of the aisle at St. Stephens Episcopal church in Erwin having conceded to her wishes of wearing gloves and a wool tuxedo with tails. They promised to love and to cherish until death they would part and they did … so very beautifully for 59 years.
The Thomases planted their flag firmly in Kernersville, NC in 1966 when Ray was charged with opening a law practice for Hatfield and Allman Attorneys at Law. Ray would later establish his own practice with the support and encouragement of Pat. He is the longest practicing attorney in Kernersville to this day.
Pat wove every part of her being into the fabric of her community and she planted little seeds all along the way. From the Woman’s Club, the Kernersville Garden Club, countless committees, boards and civic organizations, Pat championed those who could not speak for themselves and was a fierce advocate for the marginalized and overlooked.
She cherished her faith community at Main Street United Methodist Church that served as a springboard for so many of her ministries and passion projects. Pat adored each and every soul who was part of the New Horizons Sunday School class; a class she “temporarily” taught for 31 years. New Horizons was her life’s blood and nothing made her happier than this extended family of movers and shakers that she built up and sent out.
Her two favorite seasons were Snowin’ (Winter) and Growin’ (Spring) but her extensive black and gold Wake Forest wardrobe carried her through countless football and basketball seasons. She was the consummate hostess and could turn any parking lot tailgate into a proper Southern souiree. Go Deacs!
She loved their home at Sunset Beach; a place where family would gather for Easters, front porch gin and tonics and low country boils. Pat and Ray’s Blowing Rock get-away would serve as the final stop of her time on this earth.
Pat and Ray raised two daughters; Jennifer (Jen) and Betsy. Both have absorbed the “fight for the underdog” spirit of their Mama and the unflappable convictions of their Daddy. Good luck to both their husbands; Tom and Ash respectively who she absolutely adored.
Pat’s three grandsons, Max, Joe and Duncan were her pride and joy and her dear, sweet Isabella had a piece of her heart like no other. She was Aunt Pat to Chuck, Liz and Drake and cherished their visits.
Her love of her people extended across families, friends, strangers and strays. No one she ever met went unnoticed or overlooked.
We will remember and celebrate a life well-lived at 11:00am Saturday, September 2, 2023 at Main St. United Methodist Church, 306 S Main St. The family would be honored to share your company for a time of stories and remembering immediately following the service at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens, 215 S. Main St. Kernersville, NC 27284.
You would best honor her memory and spirit by using your time, resources and gifts for those who live on the fringes and in the shadows.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Crisis Control Ministry of Kernersville, 431 W. Bodenhamer St., Kernersville, NC 27284 https://www.crisiscontrol.org/ways-to-give/honormemorial-page.html or to Bethany Cafe, c/o Main St. UMC, 306 S. Main St., Kernersville, NC 27284 https://mainstreetumc.org/give-tithe-make-donation/
Friends and family may offer online condolences at www.piercejeffersonfh.com