Patricia Ann Wilson Thomas

Edgar's picture
Article Image Alt Text

Patricia Ann Wilson Thomas

Mrs. Patricia Ann Wilson Thomas, a prominent figure in service organizations and social, cultural and philanthropic activities in Natchitoches and across North Louisiana for more than 50 years, died the morning of Saturday, March 21, 2020, after an extended illness.

Admired for her elegance and graceful demeanor, Mrs. Thomas was widely known for her artistic skills and talents. She was an accomplished seamstress, musician, decorator and culinary artist. The designer dresses she created over the years were often exhibited at gatherings of social organizations and other groups.

She had also been actively involved since 1967 in publishing enterprises with her husband and business partner, Lovan B. Thomas. They own The Natchitoches Times and other newspapers and publications throughout the state.

Graveside funeral services for Mrs. Thomas were the morning of Tuesday, March 24 in the American Cemetery. The Rev. Doug Degraffenreid officiated. Michael Rorex sang “Eye of the Sparrow,” “The Lords Prayer” and “How Great Thou Art.”

Mrs. Thomas was born Oct. 12, 1939, in St. James, Missouri, and grew up in Rolla, Missouri. She graduated from Rolla High School in 1956. She performed extensively on the piano and played the organ for local churches during her high school years.

Pat attended the University of Missouri where she studied interior design, played oboe in the university band and was a drum major. She was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and graduated in 1960.

As co-chair of the Louisiana Outdoor Drama Association fund drive in 1969, Mrs. Thomas helped generate revenues for the Grand Ecore Amphitheater. That initiative also provided funding for development and production of the outdoor drama, Louisiana Cavalier.

In 1972, Mrs. Thomas edited the first Cane River Cuisine Cookbook published by the Service League of Natchitoches. The book has been reprinted more than a dozen times, and sales have reached some 200,000 copies.

Proceeds from the cookbook were used to purchase and restore the historic Prudhomme Roquier House, or the Service League House, that has been used for decades for social and civic events.

As chairman of the first renovation project, Pat earned the nickname, “The Velvet Hammer,” as she led members in stripping lead-based paint with blowtorches from the bousillage walls.

Mrs. Thomas later researched and published a history of the Service League. The book, “Follow Your Dream” covered the social history of Natchitoches from 1950-2013.

During Mrs. Thomas’ first term as president of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society in 1988-90, she guided the transition from producing Broadway-type productions and a university orchestra with hired violin players to an all student orchestra. The Symphony Society now has an endowment that supports 34 string scholarships annually. She was in her third term as president.

Mrs. Thomas was a devout Christian and a member of First Methodist Church of Natchitoches, Les Amis, Jaycee Janes, APHN, P.E.O., Beta Sigma Phi, St. Denis Garden Club, Mystic Krewe de St. Denis, Chaine des Rotisseurs and Les Amis de Vin.

She enjoyed scuba diving, Houston Opera and loved being at the duck camp but not the hunting. She and her husband traveled extensively and spent time skiing at their condo in Utah.

Mrs. Thomas’ many activities were curtailed some in her later years by arthritis that restricted the use of her hands. She died of heart failure attributed to a respiratory condition associated with rheumatoid arthritis that was triggered by pneumonia.

She was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Madeleine Renee Mayo; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John R. Wilson of Rolla; and a sister, Mary Ellen Wilson.

Mrs. Thomas is survived by her husband, Lovan B. Thomas, with whom she would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Aug. 24; two children, daughter Tracy Mayo of Jacksonville, Florida, and son Max Thomas and husband Gabe Masson of Amsterdam, Netherlands; grandson, Lovan Mayo, on whom she doted; brother, John O. Wilson and wife Beclee of St. Helena, California; and sister, Kathy Farmer of Monroe, Georgia.

The death of Mrs. Thomas leaves an enormous void in the lives of her family and friends and in the community that she served with such dignity and passion for so many years.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)