First Lady Evelyn Thomas

February 1, 1935 — June 23, 2021

First Lady Evelyn Thomas

On February 1, 1935, God blessed Hazel and Cyrus Strother with a beautiful baby girl. they named her Evelyn Clara Strother. She was anointed with a beautiful radiant smile that illuminated the lives of everyone who met her. She was one of eight siblings.

Evelyn attended school in Brunswik, MO and later studied at Western Baptist Seminary College. Evelyn received her BA degree from Drake University in Education. After receiving her degree, she became a teacher. She taught for over thirty-two years. Evelyn retired from the Des Moines Public School District. It wasn't uncommon for students or parents to see her and share how she impacted their lives. She was known as a teacher who cared.

While walking on campus at Western Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, MO, she heard a young man asked who is that sweet dandelion and she said who is that fool? His name was Henry Isaiah Thomas. They fell in love and got married on June 17, 1955. They were blessed to have two beautiful daughters; Diedra and Renee. Henry became the pastor of Union Baptist Church.

The church not only got a great pastor but was blessed with a First Lady who played the piano and had a gift to teach. Mrs. Thomas was they Minister of Music, formed the H.I. Thomas Singers, the Angel Choir, and taught the Beginner Nursey Class. Mrs. Thomas assisted her husband with growing they church and later became involved in Central District Association, Central District Congress of Christian Education the State and National Baptist Convention. She held several offices including the President and Treasurer of the Central District Women Auxiliary Department. Mrs. Thomas was the Black Ministerial Alliance Minister of Music for the Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration. Music Coordinator of the McCeil Clinton Scholarship Musical Concert.

Mrs. Thomas was a trailblazer and warrior for Christ. She believed that women had a place in delivering God's word and that they should be respected and hear so she started under the anointing God, the Central District Women's Revival.

Mrs. Thomas loved her family and was the organizer of many family events. She will be remembered for her love of people, cooking, beautiful yard, fishing enthusiast, and the ultimate fashionista. Mrs. Thomas enjoyed traveling, especially to attend the National Baptist Convention wit her dear friends, Rev. Alex and Evonne Crawford and their children. They traveled across the United States together.

Mrs. Thomas transitioned to Glory peacefully on June 23, 2021. she was preceded in death by her dad, Cyrus; mom, Hazel; three brothers, Donald Roy Lee, Cyrus (CJ) Strother and three sisters, Agnes Blackwell, Mary Jane Byars, and Betty Jean Stewart, one great-great-grandson, Ezriel Hoffman and one goddaughter, Stephanie Walton Calhoun.

She leaves to cherish her memory and her Godly influence, her husband, Rev. Henry Isiah Thomas; daughters, Diedra (James) Thomas Conley, Renee Burkett; sister, Ilene Layne (Kansas City, MO); six grandchildren, Dontez Hoffman, Jonathan (Lacresha) Burkett, James (Sabrina) Conley III, Roman (Elise) Burkett, Vincent Hanna and Kristen (Antonio) Burkett; eighteen great-grandchildren, Dontajha, Angelique, Tez, Kyree, Jontaveis, Armani, R'reonna, James IV, Lelani, Karter, Braelynn, Roman Jr., Ziaire, Keyon, Faith, Tony, Noah and Alayah; Two great-great-grandchildren, Neveah and Nasir, One godson, Donnie Walton; two goddaughters, Marlycea Smith and Julie Brent; her adopted children, Rev. Alex and Sharon Hanna, Rev. Larry and Ann Harris, Rev. Zachary and Michelle Maxey, Greg Willis and Sandy Henderson; adopted grandchildren, Tristan, Gabriel and Chelsea Maxey, and Javon Willis as well as a host of nieces, nephews and her Union Baptist Church family.

Visitation with Family Present

Friday, July 2, 2021

5pm - 7pm

Union Missionary Baptist Church

1200 McCormick St. - Des Moines, Iowa 50316

Viewing

Saturday, July 3, 2021

9am - 11am

Homegoing Celebration

Saturday, July 3, 2021

11am

Union Missionary Baptist Church

1200 McCormick St. - Des Moines, Iowa 50316

*CDC guidelines will be followed with masks required during the Visitation and Homegoing Services.  Social Distancing will strongly be encouraged, but not required.

*This service will be made available via Facebook Live on the Henderson's Highland Park Funeral Home's Facebook page (@hendersonsfuneralhome) on Saturday, July 3, 2021 beginning at 11am.  Please "Like" or "Follow" our page for access.

Service Program

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Past Services

Visitation (with family present)

Friday, July 2, 2021

5:00 - 7:00pm

Union Missionary Baptist Church

1200 McCormick St, Des Moines, IA 50316

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Viewing

Saturday, July 3, 2021

9:00 - 11:00am

Henderson's Highland Park Funeral Home

3500 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313

Plant Tree

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Homegoing Celebration

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Starts at 11:00am

Union Missionary Baptist Church

1200 McCormick St, Des Moines, IA 50316

Plant Tree

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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