Billie McMinn Thomas passed away peacefully on March 16, 2021 in Savannah, Georgia. Known as “Miss Billie” to her friends in Thomson, Georgia and “BB” to her grandchildren, Billie lived a life full of enthusiasm and dedication. Born and raised in Oktibbeha, Mississippi on October 9, 1922 to her parents Clarence and Sallie (Taylor) McMinn, Billie was the oldest of six children living in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression. Times were difficult, but the McMinn family overcame many hardship just to get by. Never did they have to worry about food, though, because they grew nearly everything they ate. This life created the foundation of the McMinn family to strive for greatness with your head up and never complaining.
Billie attended the Birmingham School of Business and later worked for the Department of Navy in Washington, D.C. She married Dr. John Thomas, Jr. in 1948, and the couple moved to Thomson, Georgia where Dr. Thomas began his practice of optometry until his death in 1981. Rather than relocate, Billie dedicated the rest of her life to community and civic organizations and to the First Baptist Church of Thomson serving as secretary of the Sunday School class until a year before her death. Billie was honored to be the first woman to serve on the McDuffie County Hospital Board as secretary and later on the advisory board. She also loved flowers and was the organizer of the Pine Needle Garden Club in 1955 serving as president five times, one of which included legally having Thomson named the Camellia City of the South. Mrs. Thomas also was proud to serve as president of the Tourism Board helping co-chair the first Blind Willie Blues Festival, charter member and secretary of the McDuffie Museum, and member and secretary of the Wrightsboro Foundation. Other awards included two Senior Citizen of the Year Awards, the Darrel Johnson Community Service Award and the Dollie Harper Award for the Azalea District. Miss Billie lived a life dedicated to every citizen in Thomson and felt it her civic duty to be involved and do her very best. One of her most coveted honors, at age 90, was being asked to speak to the teenage girls at Thomson High School about life’s challenges. She quietly helped support needy families in Thomson and spent Sunday afternoons visiting the Thomson Nursing Home. Miss Billie was actively involved in the First Baptist Church for 67 years where she served on every committee. When retiring from her secretarial job at age 97, she was the oldest, active member of the church and was devoted to her Church and her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, above all else.
Billie was preceded in death by her parents Clarence and Sallie (Taylor) McMinn; her husband John; also her brothers, Jim, Clyde,and Wayne McMinn; her sisters, Moselle (McMinn) and Helen (McMinn) Pickens. Mrs. Thomas is survived by her son Dr. David Thomas (Kelly) of Savannah, Georgia; grandson, Zachary H. Thomas, Esq. of Savannah, and granddaughter, Dr. Brittany Congress (Steven) of Knoxville, Tennessee.
A Graveside Service will be held at Savannah Valley Memorial Gardens on Friday, March 19, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Matt Ward, Officiating. The family will receive friends at the graveside following the service while maintaining social distancing.
Remembrances may be made in memory of Billie Thomas to the First Baptist Church of Thomson, P. O. Box 1205, Thomson, GA 30824 or The Wrightsboro Foundation, P. O. Box 1816, Thomson, GA 30824.
Per CDC requirements, the family will be observing social distancing, and masks are requested and appreciated. Due to the current national health concern, the family would appreciate phone calls, cards, texts, and e-mails.
Beggs Funeral Home, 799 Cobbham Rd., Thomson, Georgia is honored to serve the family of Billie McMinn Thomas.
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