Thomas, Richard Earl Richard Earl Thomas ‘Redbird’ GASTONIA — Mr. Thomas, 83, of 1963 Cottage Court, Gastonia, NC, died Friday, April 27, 2007 at his home. He was a native of York, Alabama, and was a son of the late Chester Gordon and Mamie Gibson Thomas. Funeral service is 4:00 PM Sunday, April 29, 2007 at First United Methodist Church, 190 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28052, with Dr. William Medlin and Dr. James Westmoreland. Interment in Hollywood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Saturday, April 28, 2007, McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia. 700 South New Hope Road, Gastonia, NC 28054. Mr. Thomas was a graduate of Gastonia High School, was an Eagle Scout, and completed two years at The Citadel prior to his induction into the US Army, where he served for two years. He was a well known builder and developer in Gaston County. He was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Gastonia where he was President of the Builder’s Sunday School class, held almost every lay office at the church, including chairman of the Administrative Board, and organized a ‘Meals on Wheels’ route that he carried for many years. He was a past president of Gaston County Home Builders Association, was a member and Paul Harris Fellow of Gastonia Rotary Club, member of Gaston Country Club, and member of Masonic Order & Shriners for 25 years. While serving for ten years on the Heart Society of Gaston County’s Board, Redbird co-founded the Open Heart Open Golf Tournament with friend and fellow board member, the late Bob Haygood. He was twice president of Habitat For Humanity of Gastonia. Redbird and Mr. Alfred Bohanan were instrumental in the construction of the building for the Gaston Literacy Council. Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Underwood Thomas; son and daughter-in-law, John R. and Denise Thomas; daughter, Candace Thomas, all of Gastonia; grandchildren, Paul Andrew Davis of Jacksonville, FL; Kathryn Denise Thomas of Gastonia, Lindsay Ann Francum and husband, Eric Christopher Francum of Mount Pleasant, SC, Emily Caroline Mauney of Raleigh; and nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Mr. Thomas was preceded in death by a daughter, Marianne Thomas Davis; and a brother, H. Elmore Thomas. Pallbearers will be Harold Dunnigan, Marshall LaFar, Rudy Flint, J. Martin ‘Bip’ Carstarphen, Bob Tate, Sam Pierce, Art Rose, and Steve Mack. Honorary pallbearers will be J.K. Lewis, Jr., Alfred Bohanan and Don Gunter. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, PO Box 218, Gastonia, NC 28053, Heart Society of Gaston County, 220 E. Franklin Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28052, Gaston Hospice, PO Box 3984, Gastonia, NC 28053, Gaston Literacy Council, 116 S. Marietta St., Gastonia, NC 28052. Condolences may be sent online at www.McLeanFuneral.com. Arrangements by McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia.
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