In Remembrance of Allison (“Tommy”) Neal Thomas, Sr.
Allison (“Tommy”) Neal Thomas, Sr. departed this life on March 3, 2019 at the age of 88 after complications related to his cancer treatments. Tommy was born into the union of the late Allison Wilmer Thomas and Margaret “Maggie” Sims on October 9, 1930 in Bryans Road, MD. He graduated from Pomonkey High School in 1947 where he played shortstop on the baseball team and played clarinet in the school band. He often talked about having won multiple spelling bees during his high school years, including competitions in Hampton, VA. After high school, he joined the Navy and attended boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois.
While a young seaman in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Tommy met and married the love of his life Fletcher Mildred Majette in 1951, and they enjoyed 68 wonderful years of marriage. Mildred and Tommy began their married life together in Washington, DC, where they welcomed their son, Allison (“Al”), in 1958.
Tommy’s career in the Navy began during the time when the Navy first provided opportunities for African-Americans to hold positions other than a steward or cook. Tommy chose a career as an aircraft structural mechanic. In that role he served multiple tours to the Mediterranean region aboard aircraft carriers The Midway and The Saratoga.
After 20 years of honorable service, Tommy retired from active duty. Tommy then worked as a civilian at the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF) for another 20 years and retired for a second time. While working as a civilian, Tommy enrolled in Tidewater Community College and took business courses in pursuit of an Associate’s Degree.
Tommy was a dedicated husband and father—he would often tell others how much he loved his wife and how proud he was of his son.
Around the house it was common to see him cooking meals, doing the dishes, washing clothes, and taking care of the house. The family would never forget the season in which he was fond of baking pies, and sometimes they were good!
Tommy was the ultimate sports enthusiast. Each day he would open his newspaper, turn to the listings of sports to be broadcast for the day, and fold the listings into a small rectangle which he would use as his guide for the day. He loved baseball (especially the Atlanta Braves), football (especially the Redskins), basketball (his favorite was the Wizards), and golf (enjoyed Tiger). Additionally, one of his hobbies was solving daily crossword puzzles. In his younger days, he enjoyed photography and documenting his travels and family events.
Tommy loved the Lord deeply, studied the Word regularly, and walked out his Faith in his daily life through acts of kindness. Tommy had a servant’s heart and was an active and dedicated member of the First Baptist Church South Portsmouth, where he was Chairman of the Trustee Board, and an active member of the Men’s Ministry, Men’s Sunday School class, and Men’s Chorus. In the early ‘70s while his son Allison participated in scouting with the church, Tommy proudly served as a leader of the troop.
Tommy was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers James of Marshalls Corner, MD and Earl of Mason Springs, MD. Tommy is survived by his beloved wife, Mildred; devoted son Al (Avis) of Houston, TX; loving granddaughter Ashley of Houston, TX; sisters Ellen (Spruel) of Pisgah, MD and Portia Miles (Frank) of Springdale, MD; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.