Robert Thomas was born on February 1, 1937, in Kingstree, South Carolina to Jane and Charlie Thomas. He attended the school system in Kingstree, South Carolina.
He moved to Philadelphia around 1960 where he met and married Joann Peoples who preceded him in death (2018). Of this union, two children were born – Keith Irvin Thomas and Colette Thomas.
Robert began his career as an auto mechanic. In 1968, he owned and operated his first gas station with his brother Theron; over the years he operated several gas stations and auto repair shops. After some time working in this capacity, in 1976 he decided to work for the School District of Philadelphia teaching auto mechanics. He earned his GED in preparation for enrollment into Temple University’s Certificate of Teaching Program where he earned his teaching certificate. Bob, as he was affectionately known, started his teaching career at Simon Gratz High School where he taught auto mechanics for over 20 years. After retiring in 1999 from the school district he went on to work as a driving instructor for AAA and school bus driver until 2019.
Bob had many hobbies. He spent many years hunting and fishing with his brother Theron, son Keith and a host of other friends. He started playing golf at the age of 66. He became a huge fan of the sport playing every Saturday morning with his son Keith. He was also an avid gardener. He grew all types of vegetables and beans. He was a great cook, he made the “best ribs this side of town”.
Robert was a very proud and private man. He was strong-willed and determined in every aspect of his life. He was fiercely independent. Robert became ill in 2021, but was determined to beat his disease and live his life to the fullest. He always said he did not want to be a burden to anyone. He lived independently until two weeks before his death, shopping, cooking for himself and driving back and forth to his appointments, while taking care of his business. He didn’t want to ask anyone for anything. Four days before his passing when asked about his last wishes, his response was “oh, I’m not ready for that”. He was such a fighter – so determined to live.
He leaves to mourn his loving son Keith Thomas, daughter-in-law Deidra Thomas, daughter Colette Thomas, granddaughters Jada and Jasmine Thomas, brother Theron Thomas, sisters Nancy Brown, Agnes (Kit) Witherspoon, Minerva Singletary, Betty Thomas and the following siblings who preceded him in death Alice Thomas, Alex, Donnie, Charlie Jr, Wilkie, Marshall, Frank and Rocky, step grandchildren Maurice White and Alisa Harris, five step great-grandchildren, along with a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
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