Martha Delores (Brown) Thomas, age 84, formerly of New Braunfels, Texas passed away on October 22, 2020. She was born in the Piney Grove Community of Prescott, Arkansas. Martha was preceded in death by her father, Willis “Billy” Nathan Brown, mother, Bertie Ailene (Ridgell) Brown, and sister Joy Shaver.
She is survived by her husband, T. D. Thomas, Jr., sons, Tommy Lynn Wheeler & wife, Hien, Kenneth Lynn Wheeler & wife, Beth; step-daughters, Tobi Bray & husband, Frank, Karen Yeaman, Sherri Gust, Susan Klimaszewski and Virginia “Ginny” Devine & husband, Mark; brother-in-law, Billy Ray Shaver and brother-in-law, Jack Thomas & wife, Alice; grandchildren, Charles Wheeler & wife Trisha, and Jared Wheeler & wife Nikki; step-grandchildren, Taylor Watson, Wesley Watson & wife, Emily, Brent Bobo & wife, Sherri, Christy Bledsoe & husband, Jason, Megan Aleskin & husband Dalton, Lathom Yeaman, Nick Gust, Thomas Gust, Catheryn Trautman, Caroline Martinez & husband Cade, Charlotte Klimaszewski, Abby Brown & husband Joey, Skyler Devine; great-grandchildren, Kinlee Wheeler, Kenadee Wheeler, Eva Wheeler; step-great-grandchildren, Taylor Beane & husband Skyler, Cade Watson, Noah Watson, Makenna Watson, Haidyn Watson, Tinsley Watson, Ginger Bobo, Trent Bobo, Carter Bobo, Tyler Bledsoe, Graham Bledsoe, Avery Martinez, Owen Martinez, Samwell Aleskin, Evelyn Brown, and Jackson Brown; step-great-great-grandson, Bentley Beane; niece, Belinda Delores Davis; great-nephew, Michael Shaver; great-niece, Bettina Brown; step-nephew, Ben Thomas & wife, Rebecca and step niece, Carolyn Thomas.
She accepted Christ at the age of 14 and was baptized in the First Baptist Church of North Crossett, AR. She taught Sunday School for 28 years, played the piano and was active in music and church choirs for much of her life. She was a member of the New Braunfels Presbyterian Church at the time of her death. Martha loved people and it was reflected in her chosen careers. She worked several years in Administration for the North East Houston Independent School District. After moving to East Texas, she initiated and directed an Emergency Food and Medical Program for Tri County Community Action in three counties for East Texas. While working for Deep East Texas Council of Governments, she initiated and directed a Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in twelve counties of East Texas. Before she retired in 1987, it had grown into the largest rural RSVP in the nation with more than 2,000 volunteers averaging more than 40,000 hours per month in volunteer service for nonprofit agencies. A source of great pride was the RSVP that she initiated on the Alabama Coushatta Indian Reservation with Chief Fulton Battise being the first to participate as a volunteer. He later gave her an Indian name, “Thekunta” and considered her an adopted daughter.
She served 2 years as President of the Texas RSVP Director’s Association and as RSVP Regional Representative for six states. She was invited to the White House on three occasions as an advocate for senior citizens. She met with President Gerald Ford, President Jimmy Carter and received a special recognition for program excellence from President Ronald Reagan.
She served as District Director for the 1990 Decennial Census covering nineteen counties of East Texas. She was Campaign Manager in 1992 and 1994 for U.S. Congressman Charles Wilson. She began a career in professional photography in 1999 and won merits at both state and national levels in professional photography competition.
Martha had a great passion for life. Her greatest love was for her family.
Martha will be laid to rest at Piney Grove Cemetery in Prescott, Arkansas following a private family graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Piney Grove Cemetery Fund, c/o Paul Ridgell, 631 Nevada 48 South, Prescott, Arkansas 71857
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of BRAZZEL/Oakcrest The Funeral Home of Hope, Eddie Brazzel, Director. Online condolences: www.brazzelfuneralhomes.com