Frank Wilson Thomas entered this world in Savannah, Tennessee on April 22, 1929, the fourth child and third son of Henry Earl and Mary McFall Thomas. Upon graduating from Central High School in Savannah, he enlisted in the Navy, serving from 1947 until his discharge in 1950—and even has the official Navy tattoo to prove it. Two years later, on January 7, 1952, he married Bobbie Beckham with whom he shared three sons and almost 72 years of marriage.
Frank embarked on several career paths during his early years, including working for Shackelford Funeral Directors and Dillion Manufacturing, before becoming the Office Manager at Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative, a position from which he eventually retired. His dedication to his chosen profession was obvious in the quality of his work, as was his dedication to his Lord through his efforts at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church where he was a former elder and faithful member for decades.
Knowing how to balance his church, work, home, and hobby lives was important to Frank and he was always striving to be certain no one area became his sole focus. At home he was often the chief cook and bottle-washer and took the time necessary to serve as a Little League coach for his middle child, who also happened to be the only exceptionally gifted athlete. He was a general handyman who could fix just about anything, so there was rarely a need to call a plumber or electrician—and his woodworking abilities were outstanding. Over the years he made many items for his sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren, including rocking horses, a rocky ‘raffe (aka a giraffe that rocks), combination stepladder/stools, and a cradle for his first born grandchild that has been used for two generations of little ones. Then for some reason he decided he wanted to learn to quilt, so he bought a quilting machine. For years he and Bobbie made quilts for the public with him operating the machine and her hemming them when the quilting was finished.
Once their children finally moved out, Frank and Bobbie began to travel, making annual trips to Gulf Shores, Alabama and Branson, Missouri, two very different destinations that offered them peace and quiet at one and all the music and shows they could squeeze in at the other. And of course, there were the trips to Knoxville for Frank during football season. If he wasn’t in the bleachers, then he was parked in his recliner, watching the game on TV, because his blood ran orange and there were just some things that could not be missed . . . like UT football and occasionally Lady Vols basketball.
Frank Wilson Thomas drew his last breath on this earth on Wednesday evening, November 15, 2023, at the age of 94. He leaves behind his wife, Bobbie Beckham Thomas of Savannah, Tennessee, sons Joe Thomas and his wife Lisa of Savannah, Tennessee, and Tim Thomas and his wife Amanda of Collierville, Tennessee, and his sister-in-law Nell Thomas of Tullahoma, Tennessee. He also leaves his grandchildren Joseph Thomas and his wife Natalie, Kathryne Guinn and her husband Dennis, Josh Thomas and his wife Morgan, Jordan Thomas and his wife Teresa, and Jacob Thomas as well as his great-grandchildren Wilson, Anderson, Cora, Acker, Beckham, Caris, and Emma Thomas, and Malcolm Guinn.
In addition to his parents, Frank was predeceased by his son and daughter-in-law Dr. Don and Nancy Thomas as well as all of his siblings: Robert Earl Thomas and his wife Dot, Leona Knotts and her husband Cullom, Joe M. Thomas and his wife Robbye, and David Thomas as well as his niece Linda Knotts and his nephews Mike and Mickey Thomas.