Elbert Fletcher Thomas, Jr.
Mr. Elbert "Bert" Fletcher Thomas, Jr., 86, of Concord, passed away on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, after several weeks of declining health. Mr. Thomas was born March 11, 1935 in Cabarrus County. He was the son of the late Elbert Fletcher Thomas Sr. and the late Bernice Baker Craven.
Mr. Thomas was a 1953 graduate of A.L. Brown High School. He served in the United States Navy from 1953 to 1957 aboard the U.S.S. Jupiter. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Upon returning from military service, Mr. Thomas married the love of his life, Glenda Hall Thomas, in 1960.
He attended Pfeiffer College and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Education. He also received a Master's Degree in Education Administration from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an Advanced Certification in Education Administration from Duke University. Mr. Thomas began his career in education as an English teacher in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Upon returning home to Cabarrus County, Mr. Thomas was employed by Cabarrus County Schools for many years where he served as teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Most notably, Mr. Thomas was the principal of Concord Middle School for 19 years and he retired as principal from Concord High School in 1995. He received numerous awards and recognitions, including Outstanding Young Educator, Principal of the Year, and Cabarrus County Man of the Year. He was also a member of the Noon Optimist Club and a member of Trinity United Methodist Church.
His hobbies included fishing, playing chess, listening to music, traveling, and playing cards with his friends. Additionally, Mr. Thomas was a proficient writer and an avid reader. He loved all genres of literature, but especially English and American Literature. He loved Shakespeare and Mark Twain and would quote excerpts to anyone willing to provide a listening ear. He was a fascinating storyteller, most of which he created himself, and a quick-witted jokester, always with a wink and a smile. He had a spectacular sense of humor that rubbed off on his children and his grandchildren.
Mr. Thomas never met a stranger. He touched the lives of hundreds and made people feel special because to him they were. He cared deeply for others, especially his family. He never wanted anything for himself, but always wanted the best for his family. Mr. Thomas will be deeply missed by all that knew and loved him. His spirit will live on because of the man he was and the life he lived.
Mr. Thomas is survived by his devoted wife of 60 years, Glenda Hall Thomas; children, Paula Thomas Rodgers of Concord, Janet Thomas Smith (Chris) of Concord; grandchildren, Jennifer Joyner Bedford (Matt) of Concord, Grayson Knox Rodgers III of Concord; and one great-grandson, Cole Thomas Bedford. Additionally, Mr. Thomas is survived by a sister, Betty C. Craver of Kannapolis; a sister-in-law, Brenda H. Brielbeck (Herbert) of Concord; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends on Friday, April 9, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Whitley's Funeral Home in Kannapolis. The funeral service will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel of Whitley's Funeral Home with Rev. James "Jim" Watford officiating. Burial will immediately follow the service at Carolina Memorial Park.
The family requests that memorials be made to the Cabarrus County Education Foundation, 4401 Old Airport Road, Concord, NC 28025.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com.
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