Dancing was a fun activity she did with her father, it was how she met the man who became her husband, it was how she once broke a hip, and truth be told, it was how she spent most evenings during the week.
“Well, she did take Monday’s and Wednesday’s off,” said her daughter-in-law Mary Booth Thomas, with a hearty laugh. “Our children were out of the house, but when she lived with us it felt like we had another teenager in the house with all she did,” she added, still laughing.
Barbara Thomas had a serious schedule, with a dance card that stayed full. Even when she was out with that broken hip, many of her dance partners called to ask if they could “wheel her around the dance floor in her wheelchair,” said her daughter-in-law, who lives in Atlanta. “But she said she wouldn’t go back until she could dance. And you know she went back as soon as she could!”
It is hard for Thomas’ sons to remember their mother not dancing, except for a stretch of time beginning in 2001, after her husband of 60 years, Charles L. Thomas Sr., died.
“It took her about a year to get back on the dance floor,” said her son, Albert Owen Thomas, of Dacula. “But once she was back out there, you couldn’t stop her. She got more people out on the dance floor than anybody I know.”
Earlier this summer Barbara Thomas out danced three partners at Northlake Mall’s “Dine & Dance,” held the last Tuesday of each month. She danced every dance that night, her daughter-in-law said.
“When she lived with us, I think we were taking her to something like 13 dances a month,” Albert Thomas said. “I think that’s how she stayed so young.”
Barbara Louise Andrews Thomas, who lived in Lawrenceville’s Delmar Gardens for the past couple of years, died Sept. 2 at her residence in her sleep. She was 92.
A funeral was held Friday at Floral Hills Funeral Home, Tucker, which was also in charge of arrangements. She was buried Saturday at Oak Hill Cemetery, Griffin.
A native of Augusta, the former Barbara Andrews moved to Atlanta with her mother, after the death of her father. Her father was her first dance partner, said her son, Charles L. Thomas Jr., of Atlanta.
“She would stand on the tops of his toes and they’d dance that way,” he said. “Her parents taught all of the children to dance, and she passed it on to us.”
Thomas learned more than dancing from her father, she also learned to be an artist. Though she didn’t have any formal training to speak of, she had a “natural talent and worked as a commercial artist” for a period of time, her son Charles said.
And while she was a good artist, and she worked in public relations in the ‘70s at the former-Atlanta Area Tech, dancing was what seemed to bring her the most happiness, her sons and daughter-in-law said.
“She decided she needed to stop driving, but she never stopped dancing,” Charles said.
“She was a force of nature,” his wife Mary added, as the couple laughed together, remembering the nonagenarian with the spirit of a teenager. “She almost ran us ragged.”
In addition to her two sons, Thomas is also survived by seven grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.
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