The Rev. Samuel Norman Thomas, Sr. ’49

The Rev. Samuel Norman Thomas, Sr. ’49, 84, of Lancaster, S.C., passed away Oct. 4, 2012, at Springs Memorial Hospital. Born June 12, 1928, in Wilmington, N.C., he served a long and fruitful life as a shepherd of God. Originally from Pink Hill, N.C., he traveled to Maxton, N.C., where he attended Presbyterian Junior College, then to Davidson. Upon his graduation from Davidson, he answered the call and continued his studies at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. In 1952, he received his first church calling to Acme Presbyterian Church, which he served for five years. From Acme, he moved to High Point, N.C., where he worked as assistant pastor for three years at First Presbyterian Church. In 1960 he moved his family to Hawfields, N.C., and Hawfields Presbyterian Church. Following three years in Hawfields, Thomas took the helm of First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, S.C., a ministerial position he held for the next 17 years. In 1979, Thomas became the first full-time chaplain at Elliott White Springs Memorial Hospital, a position he continued in for five years. During his years in Lancaster, he pursued his love and interest in education and the Gospel as a part-time instructor in religion at the University of South Carolina in Lancaster. In 1993 he was appointed administrator at Frampton Hall of Presbyterian Retirement Home in Clinton, S.C., a position he held until his first retirement in 1993. Returning to Lancaster, Thomas was soon convinced to accept the calling of associate minister of First Presbyterian Church. During his many years in service, to God and his community, Thomas was a member of the Board of Trustees at Thornwell Children’s Home in Clinton, the Lancaster County Government Study Committee, the Lancaster County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, the Tri-County Mental Health Board, and the Queens College Presidential Scholarship Committee. An avid sports enthusiast, he followed Davidson, Lancaster High School, and Young Harris College sports very closely. Later in life, he also became a great follower of Lexington High School (S.C.) basketball and Atlanta Braves baseball. His great love was basketball, ever since his early days in Eastern N.C., where he was a basketball standout, who perfected the one-handed shot. The greatest joy of his life, however, was his family and his community. He took special pride in his 15 grandchildren. Thomas is survived by his wife of 60 years, Frances Lindler Thomas, 106 Azalea Rd., Lancaster, SC 29720; four children, Samuel N. Thomas, Jr. (Lynn), Frances Gene Thomas Morgan (Steve), James Roland Thomas (Betsy), and Elizabeth Rea Thomas Harris (Bailey); and his 15 grandchildren, Maggie, Rollie, Maria, Ian, Hannah, Ada, Janey, Jake, Locke, Scott, Stephanie, Samantha, Drew, Thomas, and Eliza.