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Thursday, August 31, 2023
1:00 - 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Thursday, August 31, 2023
2:00 - 3:00pm (Eastern time)
Joyce Colleen Woody Thomas passed away on Friday August 25, 2023. She was 94, the eldest of six children. She was born smack in the middle of the depression in Bridgeport, Alabama on February 3, 1929. She forfeited much of her own childhood when her mother, Nina Woody, passed away at an early age, thereby leaving her to care for her younger siblings. Her father, J.D. Woody, traveled around the southeast in search of construction jobs. Frequently, he took the family on the road with him. Just a child herself, she told stories of cooking meals for her father’s work crew as they traveled from one job to the next. In her later years, she recalled these times with surprising lucidity and always as pleasant rather than difficult.
Her own six children (yes, six!) always called her “Mother,” not “Mom” or “Mama,” and it fit in more ways than one. Three of her siblings had six children as well, and during one period, all lived, or were staying in, Camilla, Georgia. What a free for all. As many as 24 cousins in the same town, there was no shortage of kids to play with or to start trouble with. When it came to child-rearing skills, Mother was considered the “fixer” for any kid, including wayward cousins, who fell out of line. Many experienced the sting at the end of her peach tree switch. We all knew, however, that there was love at the other end of that switch, and each of us was made better for her having been our mother, aunt, grandmother, and great grandmother.
Later in life, Mother began delivering the Albany Herald newspaper. She found great enjoyment in the friendship and comradery with her fellow carriers, customers and Herald employees. She started with a small route she walked in the First Avenue area, and later graduated to a large route in East Albany. She took great pride in giving her customers the best service possible. Many times, she drove from First Avenue, and later even from Camilla after moving there, to East Albany to deliver a single newspaper to a customer who called to say they missed delivery. Her customers never had a more conscientious carrier, and they frequently rewarded her with food and other gifts. It truly saddened her to finally give up the route when it became too much for her, but she cherished the friendships and memories created during this time.
Mother was predeceased by her husband, Aubrey L. Thomas, children Sheila Thomas, Janice Sanders and David Thomas, parents J.D. and Nina Woody, stepmother Doris Woody, brother Harold Woody, and sisters June Hunter, Shirley Snitzler, and Judy Whitney. Survivors include sister Gayle Woody, children Sandra West (Harold), Britt Thomas (Janine) and Beverly Lawson (Jeff), grandchildren Trey Thomas (Sofia), Lauren James (Frank), Gina Ferguson (Scott), Mason Frierson, Colleen Thomas, Erin Thomas, and Nick Singletary, great-grandchildren Stewart Ferguson, Millie Ferguson, Faren James, Frankie James, and Liam Thomas.
Funeral services will be held at Lakeside Baptist Church on Thursday August 31, at 2:00 p.m., with visitation one hour before the service.