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In Loving Memory Of

CARL SHERMAN THOMAS

Carl Sherman Thomas, 88, of Charleston, WV died Saturday, December 26, 2009, at Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston.

Carl was born November 1, 1921 to Lindsay Sherman and Kizziah "Kizzie" Jane Watson Thomas on Pumpkin Run, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line in western Monongalia County.

He loved to talk about the farm life and growing up in the rough and beautiful countryside of narrow dirt roads, steep hills and deep forests.

He made agriculture his career. He was smart and loved learning and touching people's lives, so teaching was a natural way of life for him.

He earned his undergraduate degree in agricultural education at West Virginia University. He later earned his masters degree. Carl taught vocational agriculture and shop in high schools, most notably at Spencer High School, Spencer, where he taught for 17 years.

While at Spencer, he led the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) to win many state and national contests and awards, and he guided students to become state and national officers of the FFA.

He inspired others to become teachers themselves. He earned national recognition for being a "Teacher of Teachers." Carl was proud of his students and their achievements. He moved on to the West Virginia State Department of Education, and later became the State Supervisor of Vocational Agriculture in high schools and was the state advisor of the FFA. He later became assistant director of Post-Secondary and Adult Education, and retired in 1987.

Carl was among the farsighted people who helped develop Cedar Lakes Conference Center at Ripley. At the time, it was envisioned as a camp for the Future Farmers and Future Homemakers of America. He was interim supervisor at Cedar Lakes in the 1960's. He helped start the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair at Cedar Lakes. He worked at the fair for many years, and served on the fair's Board of Trustees.

He was a former president of the Roane County Classroom Teachers Association, Roane County Education Association, Spencer Jaycees, WV Vo-Ag Teachers Association and the WV Farm and Home Electrification Council. He was a former director of the WVU College of Agriculture and Forestry Alumni Association.

He was very active with the WV Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame, having served as a member of the Executive Board, the Board of Directors, secretary, and chairman of the Museum Committee. He was enshrined in the Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.

He was a former secretary-treasurer of the Governor's Food and Agriculture Exhibition. He received the Southern States Cooperative Agriculture Leadership award. He was the Atlantic Region Vice-President of the National Association of Supervisors of Vocational Agriculture. He received the Honorary American Farmer Degree from the National Association of the FFA.

Carl has been honored with many awards, certificates, plaques, watches, and medallions for his work in agriculture and vocational education.

Carl loved to work with his hands, and he always had a project going. He enjoyed making and repairing things. He built most of the furniture for his young household when he settled in Spencer. He liked to say in later years that be built his own antiques. He was clever and persistent, and always found a way to make or fix something.

He was known for the grandfather clocks he made and gave away to family, and for the jewel boxes and trays he made and gave away to relatives, friends and to charity auctions to raise money for the FFA Foundation. His jewel boxes brought a total of $8,710.00 for the foundation.

He had been active in the Masons, having served as Junior Warden and Worshipful Master of the Moriah Lodge in Spencer, District Deputy Grand Master of the Fourth Masonic District of WV, Deputy Grand Lecturer of the Masonic Lodge of WV, and Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of WV.

He served in the United States Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II, with extended stays in China and Japan. He was proud of his service and enjoyed talking about it with all who would listen. He was a member of the Methodist Church, but he attended First Presbyterian Church of South Charleston for more than 20 years so that he could be with his second wife, Anita. He was active in church activies.

Surviving him are his son, David Thomas; step-son, Ed Kuhn and wife, Bea; three step-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; many close nieces and nephews; and his beloved cat, Gracie.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother and five sisters, Ralph Thomas, Edna Bean, Fern White, Lois Dallison, Bessie Cowell, and Jean Thomas. His first love and wife, Pansy Howard Thomas, and their daughter, Carol Elaine Thomas, both proceded him in death. His second wife, Anita Jane Vermilyea Kuhn Thomas, passed away this past June.

Friends may call at the Owen-Neely Funeral Home in Blacksville from 2-4 & 6-8 PM Tuesday. Funeral services will be held in the funeral home at 11:00 AM Wednesday with Rev. Gary McGrew and Rev. Mike King officiating. Burial will follow in Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens in Westover.

The family asks that donations be made in Carl's memory to: WV FFA Foundation, c/o Don Michael, Rt 1 Box 21-P, Ravenswood, WV 26164 or Kanawha Hospice Care Inc., 1606 Kanawah Blvd, West, Charleston, WV 25313-2536.

 

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