Mr. Joseph LeRoy Thomas, 101, of Youngstown, transitioned to eternal life on Thursday, December 2, 2021 at his home with his loving wife at his side.
Mr. Thomas was born April 14, 1920 in Youngstown, a son of Robert L. and Hannah Tucker Thomas. He was a 1938 graduate of South High School and was a member of Third Baptist Church and its choir. He retired after being employed for 30 years with the State of Ohio Liquor Department. Showing promise in various aspects of the arts, he took up painting and sculpting as a young boy. As he aged, he became a noted dancer, musician and singer. Shortly after the creation of The Dunbar Choral Group in 1940, Mr. Thomas became the group's youngest soloist at the age of 20, performing spiritual, classical and operatic pieces. The one constant was his art which he worked at and perfected for decades until finally putting down his brushes in 2019. Through the years, Mr. Thomas has painted landscapes, still life’s, abstracts and especially portraits. His business, Cultural Expressions, was based on the belief that art had a place in every home and “The truth and spirit in the arts are directly connected to civilization. “
He leaves to cherish his memory his beloved wife, the former Gwendolyn Walker, of Youngstown whom he married May 25, 2000; five children, Bradley (Ruby) Thomas of Norcross, GA, Gicanda Thomas of New Orleans, LA, Jermaine Thomas of Las Vegas, NV, Akiba Rakilam of Pittsburgh, PA, Chike Rakilam of Youngstown; a grandson; three great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and nine siblings, sisters, Ruth Biggs, Jessie Preston, Mary Jackson, Lois Arnold, Inez Trevathan, Gladys Ramsey; brothers, Paul, Leslie, Walter and Cecil Thomas.
Visitation will be Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the L. E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at 10:00 a.m. Due to the pandemic, all guests are required to wear masks and observe social distancing.