Bernice Cook Thomas was born in Alpine, Alabama to Era Mae Cook and Levi Thomas. She was educated in the public schools of Sycamore, Alabama. She married Cleophus Thomas and to this union was born a daughter, Janet Cleopatra Thomas May, and two sons, Cleophus Thomas, Jr. and Michael R. Thomas, who died in infancy.
The Thomas family lived on an 80 acre family farm in Coosa County but moved to Anniston, Alabama in 1963 as it was the regional office of Booker T. Washington Insurance Company which employed Mr. Thomas. Mrs. Thomas was ultimately employed in retail and served as department head of Ready-to-Wear at Martin’s in Quintard Mall. She was appointed to the Oxford High School Vocational Advisory Board, advising students on changing trends in the retail clothing industry. Mrs. Thomas returned to school and graduated from Gadsden State Junior College in 1984 with a degree in Retail Merchandising. Cleo and Carla returned to Anniston and Mrs. Thomas cared for grandson, Tres Thomas, who she would thereafter call her “Bachelor’s Degree”. She also cared for Thomas grandchildren, Phillips and Caleb. She opened her own highly successful home business where she sold jewelry. The late Dacia Dunson assisted her in the jewelry business. She loved Dacia and felt as if she was her own daughter.
She was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In addition to her husband and children, she leaves to mourn her sister, Mary Jo Cook; five grandchildren, Cleophus Thomas III (Claudia), Phillips Newbern Thomas Hornbuckle (Chad), Caleb Spratling Thomas, Allen Thomas May, Joel Thomas May; four great grandchildren, Nora Elise May, Atticus Donald Hornbuckle, Etta Grace Hornbuckle and Marcelo Mercado Thomas; nieces and nephews including Patrick D. Cook (Jema), Patrina L. Cook and James D. Johnson; her adopted daughters, Beverly Veal and Shirley Colvin; and her beloved Connie, Richard and Nate Stockham. She also considered Terry "Tip" and Kathy Helms to be her children.
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