William H. “Bill” Thomas, 80, a longtime resident of Dayton, passed away Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at Shiloh Springs Care Center, following an illness. He was the son of the late Rev. Albert Henderson Thomas, an African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) minister, and Elizabeth (Dixon) Thomas Watkins, who retired from Wright Patterson Air Force Base. William was born May 2, 1939 in Washington, DC and moved to Dayton with his family a few months after his birth. He attended Roosevelt High School, Sinclair Community College, and the University of Dayton. He worked at GM/Moraine Division for many years until his retirement. He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
William loved animals and derived a great deal of satisfaction and happiness from spending time with and caring for his beloved companions, the names of which include Sam, Venus, Frisky, Sweetie, BG, and Scooter. He was an avid reader, including Shakespeare, and loved reading poetry. He immensely enjoyed playing chess, listening to music, especially jazz, and was a fan of many of the jazz greats, such as John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. In addition to jazz music, he very much enjoyed listening to classical artists, such as Andrea Bocelli, along with opera greats Leontyne Price and Kathleen Battle. He also absolutely loved listening to the new age music of Yanni. His other interests included playing the saxophone, writing poetry, and watching nature shows, as well as sports, including basketball, football, golf, and tennis. He was elated to watch Tiger Woods win the 2019 Masters Golf Tournament and to see Serena Williams win her first-round match of the 2019 French Open Tennis Tournament as he was a big fan of both Tiger and Serena. He also enjoyed good food, spending time with family and friends, and was a keen student of African American History.
He is preceded in death by his brothers Albert, June, Michael, Steve, and Eric; special uncle and aunt, George and Mattie Wright; beloved daughter, Dawn Denise Thomas.
He is survived by Carole Thomas, along with their children Carla, Karen, Bryant (Susan), Byron, and Kelli Thomas; grandchildren, Paul Jeter (Tiffini), Shawn Thomas, Tobias, Ialiah, Nyekeira, Nakye, Nylaiyah; great grandchildren, Kei’Erin, Malakai, Na’kyah, Ja’ire, Evie, Kali, and Jacy; sisters, Mary (Thomas) Walton and Ethel (Thomas) Samuels; dear friends, Adrian, Patricia (Pat), Lu Lu, Paul Green, Bill, and Mike Long; a host of other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be held 11 am-2 pm Friday, June 7, 2019 at the House of Wheat Funeral Home, Inc., 2107 N. Gettysburg Ave. Family will receive friends 12-2 pm. Interment 2:30 pm at the Dayton National Cemetery. The Thomas family would like to thank and express our sincere gratitude to all those who provided care to our dad during his illness, including the staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital, the staff of Shiloh Springs Care Center, and the Hospice Care Team.