Ms. Carolyn Taylor Thomas, of Milledgeville, Georgia passed away on Friday, March 26, 2021 at Chaplinwood Nursing Home, Milledgeville, Georgia.
Graveside services were held on Friday, April 2, 2021 at 11:00AM from the Memory Hill Cemetery, 300 West Franklin Street Milledgeville, Georgia.
Ms. Thomas was born in Milledgeville, Ga on December 7, 1923 to the late Mrs. Magnolia Griggs Willis and the late Mr. John Taylor, Sr. She had one brother, John Taylor. Both her parents and brother proceeded her in death. In relation to failing health, Ms. Thomas was admitted to Chaplinwood Health and Rehab in 2011 and lived the last 9 years of her life as a resident of the facility. During that time, her friend and soror, Ms. Tracy Butts served as her primary caretaker. She is survived by numerous people who loved and cared for her including sorors, church members, friends of the community, and a god daughter. As a child, her family moved to Atlanta, Ga when her grandmother died. She graduated Booker T Washington School in 1940. Upon graduation, she attended Spelman College and graduated with a Social Work degree in 1944. She then earned her master’s degree from the Atlanta University School of Social Work. Ms. Thomas relocated to Ohio after receiving her Master’s degree. In Ohio, she met Mr. Bill Thomas. They were married for 10 years. Upon retirement from the Division of Social Services of the Cuyahoga County Department of Human Services in 1986, Ms. Thomas returned to Milledgeville where she began working at Oconee Mental Health Center and served as a child therapist until she retired in 2010. Ms. Thomas loved to travel and visited Russia, Norway, Sweden, England, South America, Italy, France, Greece, Israel, and Egypt. Although she loved to travel, her legacy is undoubtedly her service to others. In addition to being a social worker by trade, she was extremely active and involved in her community. While living in Ohio, she helped integrate Palmer, Ohio. Her activism didn’t stop there. In the early 90s, there was major racial conflict in the Milledgeville community, so the city and county governments set up a Human Relations Commission to which\Ms. Thomas was appointed. Through this committee, she became a board and charter member
for Habitat for Humanity. She also served as a member of the Family Selection Committee for Habitat. Additionally, Ms. Thomas served as a life member of AARP. She represented the organization as a member of the Silver Hair Legislature often traveled to Washington, DC to ensure their concerns were heard. Ms. Thomas also led a successful lawsuit to integrate Georgia Military College allowing minorities to attend. She later served on the minority scholarship committee which determined which students received financial assistance. She also served on the GMC Board of Trustees until 2013. She was recently recognized as being the first female board member. In 2013, she was granted emeritus status and presented with a plaque and sword in recognition of her faithful service.
Even after she stopped serving on the board, Ms. Thomas remained instrumental in ensuring minority students had the opportunity to attend GMC. Prior to her death, she continued to contribute yearly to the GMC scholarship fund to ensure financial support was available for those who would not have been able to attend otherwise. Ms. Thomas was a student of the late Sallie Ellis Davis and served as chair of the Sallie Davis Foundation. She along with Former Georgia College President Dr. Dorothy Leland were instrumental in saving the historic house of Ms. Davis and transforming it into the Georgia College’s cultural arts center. The center opened in 2012 and has since served as the location for several traveling exhibits. Ms. Thomas maintained her membership in NAACP and SCLC. She previously served as secretary and treasurer for the local chapter of NAACP. Ms. Thomas was a faithful member of Lee’s Chapel CME Church. Prior to her transition into Chaplinwood, she served as steward and Sunday School teacher. She was known for gathering the local children and transporting them and from Sunday School. Even after becoming a resident of Chaplinwood, she regularly attended services at Lee’s Chapel CME Church. Prior to her death, she also continued to support her church financially.
A firm believer in education and especially supportive of HBCU’s, Ms. Thomas remained a faithful financial contributor of Spelman College. As an alumna, she attended numerous homecoming celebrations including her 65th , 70th , and 75th graduation anniversaries. She also regularly contributed to Voorhees College in memory of her brother, John Taylor. Prior to the deterioration of her health, Ms. Thomas was actively involved in many other worthwhile community organizations. Among them included: Board Member of Colors United of Milledgeville, member of the Old Capitol Kiwanis Club, member of the Allied Arts Board, Salvation Army Board of Directors, and Learning in Retirement. As reflected above, her admission to Chaplinwood did not end her service to others. Additionally, while at Chaplinwood, Ms. Thomas served as president of the Chaplinwood resident council. During her tenure, her responsibilities included serving as the chair for monthly meetings with the other residents and presenting their collective concerns to the administration for consideration and resolution. During her life, Ms. Thomas received numerous awards and recognitions. She received the Flagg Social Justice Legacy Award in 2009. This award is presented annually by Georgia College and State University’s Commission on Diversity and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity to an individual who has worked to create a more inclusive Middle Georgia Community. She was also recognized in relation to her work on the GMC board of trustees, Milledgeville-Baldwin County Race relations, Habitat for Humanity, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NAACP, and Lee’s Chapel CME church. In December of 2016, the Democratic Party of Central Georgia honored Ms. Thomas with the Drum Major for Freedom and Justice Award. In January 2017, the 100 Black Men of Middle Georgia presented Ms. Thomas with the Woman of the Year Award during the annual program recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King. In March 2020, the middle Ga Fisk Alumni Association recognized her as a Middle Georgia Legend and presented her the Leontine ESPY Award of Excellence. This was her last outing before the pandemic necessitated travel cease. Last but definitely not least, Ms. Thomas was a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.- Alpha Omega Chapter in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. She remained an active member in Ohio until she retired and moved to Georgia and became a member of Epsilon Omega Omega. She truly loved her sorority and regularly attended local, regional, and international conferences. In 2007, the sorority’s regional leadership recognized for her years of service as graduate advisor on the campus of Georgia College & amp; State University. She was affectionately dubbed her as the “Dean of Graduate Advisors”. In 2010, Epsilon Omega Omega established a scholarship in her honor and each year undergraduates at both Georgia College & amp; State University and Mercer University are awarded monetary funds in her honor. Ms. Thomas became a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Dec 2012. Even during her residency at Chaplinwood, she regularly attended chapter meetings, cluster conferences, joint founders’ day celebrations, and chapter special events such as fundraisers, scholarship showcases, and special memorial services for deceased members. In 2017, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Cluster V presented Ms. Thomas with the Angela M. Williams Humanitarian Award. In 2020, she was also recognized by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc as a
Pearl Soror for having 65+ years of service. At her death, she had served the sorority for 73 years.
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