Cover photo for Robert Kenneth Thomas's Obituary
Robert Kenneth Thomas Profile Photo

Robert Kenneth Thomas

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3

On Wednesday, January 4, 2023, our beloved patriarch Robert “Bobby” Kenneth Thomas gained his heavenly wings at the age of 82. The world lost an exceptional father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, self-published author, leader, and friend.

Bobby was the eighth child born to the union of David Thomas Sr. and Alma Wright Thomas in South Bend, Indiana on June 23, 1940. He is preceded in death by parents David and Alma Thomas, sister Juanita Thomas-Henderson, and brothers David Thomas Sr., Donald Thomas, Melvin Thomas, Marvin Thomas, Richard Thomas, Merlin Thomas, and Charles Thomas. His grandson and best friend Charles Martez Thomas and Jordan Townsend. His great-grandson Armani Martez Thomas.

At an early age, Bobby accepted Christ and was a devoted Catholic, but later in life, he showed his love for Christ and joined Macedonia Baptist Church in South Bend, Indiana under the leadership of Reverend Fred D. Johnson. Bobby was educated in the South Bend Community School System. After graduating from high school, he studied and obtained various certifications in Business Leadership at Indiana University, University of Notre Dame, University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, Dayton Ohio, and Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio.

Bobby was a quiet man. Since the age of nine, he dreamed of having a family of his own and God made his dream come true. He was blessed with his greatest love – a family of his own. Bobby’s second-greatest love was serving and helping people in the community. If you knew Bobby, you knew he had a heart of gold.

In 1969, Bobby married the love of his life Lillie “Thelma” Willis Thomas who gained a bonus daughter Robin during this marriage. To that union, two additional daughters were born, Rhonda and Sonja. Bobby and Thelma maintained a close friendship over the years communicating regularly and sharing great stories while grandparenting their grand and great-grandchildren.

While serving his community, Bobby held eight top executive positions in three states: Executive Director of South Bend Housing Authority in South Bend Indiana, Executive Director of Housing Authority in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Executive Director of Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority in Dayton Ohio, Director of Development with the State, Columbus Ohio, Director of Community Development for the City of Columbus, Director of Property Management at Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority in Columbus Ohio. In October 2004, Bobby retired from his career as Chief Operator Officer from CMACAO a community action agency in Columbus Ohio. After his retirement, Bobby became a Freelance Writer and Consultant with his own company, Robert K. Thomas and Consultants. However, he still wasn’t ready to hang his hat. Bobby obtained a position at Harte Crossroads Public Schools as Chief Operator Officer and later become interim Chief Executive Officer. Bobby was a member of the Columbus City Council. He also received a Resolution of Expression for Outstanding Service and Leadership for the City of Columbus Ohio.

Bobby leaves to cherish the memory of three loving daughters: Robin Thomas Walls (William) of Elkhart Indiana, and Rhonda and Sonja Thomas of Columbus Ohio. His twelve grandchildren whom he referred to as his pride and joy: De’Vaugn, De’Rron, Deja’, Kirstyn, Kishara, Jaylon, Tyler, Christopher Thomas, Maurice and Chanz Bennett, Samaria and Rachel Walls. The apple of his eyes, his great-grandchildren, fourteen to be exact. In addition, Bobby’s love for his family was extended to an entire flock from the Thomas, Wright, Ursery, and Willis families, who all embraced him in return. Especially his tribe of nephews and nieces whom he dearly loved as his own.

In Loving Memory of Charles Martez Thomas, Bobby developed two documents; The Charles Martez Thomas Foundation to serve youth and young adults by building skills to succeed and a self-published book in 2021 titled, Martez Building the Bridge to Mental Health and the Aftermath of Suicide. It is Bobby’s hope and wishes that his grand and great children will carry out his dreams for Martez.
Romans 8:26 – 28 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And know that in all things works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God made it possible we are one again – Bob Thomas – Amen
Final Message to Martez on November 18, 2014, God took you home before me, and only He knows why. In life, I loved you dearly and in death, I loved you more. While holding you, I felt you enter my heart, and my heart beats for three; yours, your son, and mine. It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn’t go alone. For at that time, a part of me went too. Now we are together as three, home with God as meant to be. “We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. You can be certain that he will come.” – Bob Thomas

Visitation 11:00am and Funeral 12:00 pm Friday, January 13, 2023 at Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church, 2283 Sunbury Road

Interment at Union Cemetery Association.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Kenneth Thomas, please visit our flower store.


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