Obituary for Judge William Franklin Thomas, Jr.

Obituary for Judge William Franklin Thomas, Jr.

JANUARY 2, 1934 TO NOVEMBER 29, 2021

Judge William Franklin Thomas, Jr., died on Monday, November 29, 2021.  A lifelong resident of Pulaski, Virginia, Judge Thomas was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Gertrude Davis Thomas; his parents, William Franklin Thomas, Sr. and Virginia Saunders Thomas, and his sister, Elizabeth “Betty” Thomas Hicks.

Known for his kindness and decency, Judge Thomas is survived by a son, Lee Mason Thomas, of the home; and four nieces and nephews and their families.  He leaves behind his Church family, his “Court family” of which he was so fond, as well as many friends and colleagues.

Judge Thomas was a 1950 graduate of Pulaski High School.  He attended Emory& Henry College and graduated from the School of Business Administration at the University of Richmond.  After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law, he joined the law firm of Gilmer, Sadler, Ingram, Sutherland & Hutton, (then known as Gilmer, Sadler, Harman & Thomas) where he practiced primarily real estate law until 1973.  He was selected by the Virginia General Assembly as Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations General District Court where he served with distinction in Pulaski, Wythe, Carroll, Grayson and Bland counties and the City of Galax from July 1, 1973 until retirement on December 31, 1995.  In his almost 35 years on the bench, Judge Thomas was known for his compassion, common sense, and patience in hearing all sides of every issue.

A dedicated Democrat, Judge Thomas ran for the Sixth District House of Delegates in 2007, a race he narrowly lost.  He served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1960 where John F. Kennedy was nominated as the Democratic candidate for President.  He was an avid student of politics and spent much of his time reading his newspapers from cover to cover, as well as following television news.

Judge Thomas was a faithful member of First United Methodist Church, Pulaski, where he had long served on the Church Council.  He was a generous benefactor to the Church and to many organizations throughout the community for which he never sought recognition.  He was a long-time member of the Pulaski Jaycees, the Elks and the Masons.  He rarely missed a Pulaski River Turtles baseball game.

Judge Thomas was exceedingly proud of his roots in Pulaski, was an ardent supporter of Pulaski and never aspired to live anywhere other than Pulaski.

A very special thank you to his wonderful caregivers, Michelle Atsatt, Kathleen Martin and Tawana (Samantha) Duncan who cared for him with extraordinary love and care. Thank you for the wonderful and compassionate care Judge Thomas received from the Lewis-Gale Pulaski ICU Unit.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, December 3, 2021, at 1:00 p.m.  at First United Methodist Church in Pulaski.  Visitation will follow the service at the Church.  Private internment will be at Highland Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers please consider a gift to First United Methodist Church at 135 4th Street, NW, Pulaski, VA  24301

Masks are encouraged.

Stevens Funeral Home is serving the Thomas Family. Online condolences may be made at www.stevensfuneralhomepulaski.com