Shirley Ruth Thomas, 81, passed peaceably from this life to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, April 11, 2021 while at home in Fishers Island, New York. She was born in Moultrie, Georgia on May 18, 1939 to the late Jimmie Nelms and Naomi Ruth Duke. A resident of Jacksonville, Florida for more than 46 years, she was a devoted military wife and accompanied her beloved husband to various duty locations in Florida, South Carolina, and California over their shared 22 year military career. Her strength, fortitude and tireless devotion to the welfare of her husband and children were the source of the safe anchorage she provided for her family throughout the years. She was an active volunteer in Parent Teacher Associations, a constant source of help to fellow service wives around the country, as well as friends and neighbors alike. She instilled in her children a strong work ethic, a concern for others, and an abiding love of travel and learning. An avid reader, she was never found without a book close at hand. Though her vocation was as a wife, mother and homemaker, she nevertheless worked tirelessly outside the home, retiring after more than 20 years employment with Kmart at its Lem Turner location in Jacksonville. A loving wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She will be dearly missed by all.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Billie H. Thomas; son, Billy Wayne Thomas; father, mother, and cherished step-father, Roger J. Dukes; sister, Shelby Brown; brother, Jimmie L. Nelms; brother-in-law, David Brown; brother-in-law, L.T. Thomas; brother-in-law, J. B. Dukes; sister-in-law, Velma Dukes, and sister-in-law, Charlotte Nelms. She is survived by her son, David R. Thomas (Karen) of Jacksonville, Florida; daughter, Dianne Kapri Thomas (Chris Ingram) of Fishers Island, New York; grand-daughter, Alanna C. Shaw (Todd); great-grandsons, Jared C. Shaw and Jacob T. Shaw, of Jacksonville; brother-in-law, Carol Thomas and sister-in-law, Nancy Nelms, also of Jacksonville; numerous nieces and nephews and treasured friends who called her Nana.
She will be interred with her beloved husband of 65 years at the Jacksonville National Cemetery on May 10, 2021 at 1:00 pm with Pastor Micah Strickland officiating. The funeral cortege will depart from Cedar Bay Funeral Home, 405 New Berlin Road, Jacksonville, Florida, promptly at 12:15 pm.