757.628.1000

Warren Leon Thomas


Sunrise: August 25, 1949

Sunset: January 12, 2021

Warren Leon Thomas was born to Cora Lee and Edgar Thomas on August 25,1949 in Portsmouth, Virginia.  At a young age, Leon became a member of Celestial Baptist Church.

As the 5th child of the Thomas clan which was known throughout the community for their sense of humor, Leon was also known to drag his younger brothers and sisters along with him to expose them to life outside of Portsmouth.  A tradition that he continued with his nieces and nephews from skiing to road trips around the country.

Leon was a product of Portsmouth Public Schools, graduating as a proud Greyhound in the I. C. Norcom class of 1969.  While at Norcom, Leon made a name for himself as a star on the football team, earning the nickname that stuck with him throughout his football career, “War Pony”.  Leon’s talents on the football field took him to Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, where he majored in Education.  While at Elizabeth City, Leon became a member of the Epsilon Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc. After graduating, Leon returned to Portsmouth and took a position as a teacher and coach at Churchland High School. After several years in education, Leon’s love for children and belief in the importance of recreation and activity led him to spend several years with the City of Portsmouth in the Parks and Recreation department.

Regardless of what job he held, Leon was known as a mentor and father figure for any and every child he came into contact with. The last thing you wanted to hear if you were misbehaving is I’m going to tell Mr. or Uncle Leon. His brand of discipline included showing up in your class unannounced, or making you do work outside in the garden or on a car while having LONG discussions on your behavior and how to improve it.

In 1987 Leon reunited with a former love, Beverly Goodall, and the rest is history. Their story was one of love, laughter, and service.  From being on the Executive Board of Harborfest in the 80s, to spending countless hours working within the church.  For all of their differences, the key unifier was their love of God, family, music, and belief that to whom much is given, much is required.

In 2003 Leon and Beverly joined Grove Baptist Church, under Pastor Melvin O. Marriner.  As soon as they finished membership classes, they got to work within the ministry.  After his wife Beverly’s diagnosis with breast cancer in 2010, Leon became not only a caregiver, but an avid advocate for cancer patients and their families. Leon visited the Virginia General Assembly and other elected officials on multiple occasions to urge them to enact policies that help cancer patients throughout Virginia.  He was also called upon to speak at several workshops and conferences on the importance of palliative care and holistic healing.  In 2019, he received the Nathalene Faggart Spirit Award from Pink Perseverance Inc. for his advocacy and support of others even after the passing of his wife. In addition to his work with the church, his caretaking and advocacy work, Leon was inducted into the I. C. Norcom Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011 and became an active member of the Board.  His lifelong love of nature led him to become a member and officer of the Green Pine Garden Club of Portsmouth, where competed and placed in Place Setting competitions.

On Tuesday, January 12th, Leon heard the Lord say to him, well done thy good and faithful servant. When he walked towards the light of the Lord, he walked into the loving arms of his mother and father, wife, step mother Ethel Thomas, sister Hazel Vann, and brother Rudolph Thomas.  As the sun rose with the dawn of a new day, left to cherish his memory and rejoice in his peace are; his daughter Nichole Hayes (Justin), son Duane Copeland (Larissa), siblings Willie Thomas (Leah), Edgar Thomas Jr., Wayne Thomas (Gladys), Judy Moffett (Nehemiah), Betty Thomas (Vernon), Bryant Thomas (Alberta), Arnold Thomas (Edna); stepsisters Mabel Mason, Deborah Turner (Richard), and Janice Vaughn. He also has six grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends to carry on his legacy of love and laughter. They all have a new angel in heaven looking down upon them.

Viewing Friday, January 22, 2021 2:00pm - 6:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service 5605 Portsmouth Boulevard Portsmouth, VA 23701 Service Saturday, January 23, 2021 11:00am Grove Baptist Church 5910 W Norfolk Road Portsmouth, VA 23703 The family is following the CDC and State of Virginia guidelines for funeral attendance

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Condolences(27)

  1. reply
    VALERIE WILLIAMS says

    Family….You have my deepest sympathy. Leon was a “gentle giant”. He will be truly missed.

  2. reply
    Irving Bowser Jr says

    R.I.P. my cousin Leon you truly are gonna be miss. Love you and see you again one day.

  3. reply
    Anita Colley says

    Rest in paradise my friend Warren “Leon” Thomas you were a great man of integrity and warmth to so many people. You touch alot of hearts and you will be remembered as a true friend. It was an honor serving with you on Grove Church Guardian Angel ministry and you will be sorely missed, give Bev a hug from us. Take your rest.?❤

  4. reply
    Wanda Hall says

    My condolences to the Thomas family; take your rest thou good and faithful servant, you have earned your wings.

    • reply
      Shirley Richardson Washington says

      My condolences to the Thomas family, you have my deepest
      sympathy , Leon will be missed, rest in peace ,my friend . We
      were neighbors in Mt. Herman.
      God bless you and keep you , the Lord face shine upon you all.
      Earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal.

  5. reply
    Juanita Harris-Jones says

    Our Sincere Condolences to the Family~ God is just a step away while you walk this journey . May your hearts and soul find peace and comfort and the blessings of love be upon you. May his peace abide within you, his essence illuminate your hearts, now and forever more. Hold tight to memories for comfort, lean on your friends for strength, and always remember how much you are cared about.
    Rest my friend for now it’s your time, you have earned your wings.

    • reply
      Vernon Brodie Williams says

      To a very kind and caring person. You will truly be missed my friend May you Rest In Peace. Vernon Brodie Williams

  6. reply
    Sharon Kirgan says

    Our deepest condolences the family. So sad. We have missed Leon as a neighbor since he moved from Raintree Circle. He and Beverly were our first neighborhood friends when we built our house next door to him. Love and prayers to the family.

    • reply
      Felicia Coker says

      My sincerest condolences to the family. Leon was a brother and friend. He never met a stranger. When my daughter passed away in 2009, he and Beverly brought meals to my house and constantly prayed for my husband and me. He is now joined with his incredible wife. I will miss my weekly guidance on holistic eating. Rest well brother.

  7. reply
    Barrett Richardson says

    Leon Thomas was my gym teacher and homeroom teacher at Churchland High School in the mid 1970’s. He treated his students well. I always enjoyed seeing him in the community long after the high school years and catching up with him. He always gave me a cordial and friendly greeting. Rest in peace, Coach.

  8. reply
    MICHAEL G Halison says

    Our heartfelt condolences to the Thomas Family for the loss of their love one. Our prayer is that you all will receive comfort from the Holy Spirit. Be encourage because Jesus will bring Leon with Him when He comes. Leon rest in the arms of Jesus.

    • reply
      Donna Simons says

      To The Family Of The Late Warren Leon Thomas ( War Pony & Flash ). I extend my deepest and heartfelt sympathy in the loss of a beloved friend. Leon and I met at ECSU and we developed a loving friendship. We had so many memorable good times, especially with his ” Kappa Brothers”. Leon was popular and he was funny, sensitive and kind. He will be missed by all of us that knew him and loved him. May God Continue To Bless The Family With Comfort and Strength and Know That His Spirit and Loving Memories Will Always Be With You…With Deepest & Sincere Sympathy, Donna Simons and Family.

  9. reply
    Janice Pierce says

    My sincere condolences to the Thomas family as you mourn the loss of your loved one. Leon will be sorely missed. I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. reply
    Cassandra Wilkinson Lighty says

    Leon and I were high school sweethearts but our lives took us on different paths. He was always gentleman with a big heart who had a passion for life. I am so happy that he found a true life partner and raised the loving family he so deserved. My condolences to the Thomas family and forever Rest in Heavenly Peace War Pony!

  11. reply
    Moscow Spencer says

    You will be missed, dear friend. Rest In Heavenly Peace.

  12. reply
    james l king jr says

    To the Thomas family i pray that the peace of God and the love you shared with Leon will strengthen you through this sorrowful moment, know that God through time will heal your hearts and dry your tears, be well, be safe, for you are loved. SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS !

  13. reply
    Deborah Gilliam says

    Rest in peace you were a kind spirit who always made others feel important. You will always be missed

  14. reply
    Cheryl & Fred Bellamy says

    I will miss seeing my friend Leon at Grove Church on Sunday. Rest in paradise my friend & give my Pink Sister Beverly a big hug for me. Praying for the family.

  15. reply
    Rob and Brandy Jones says

    Uncle Leon will be missed but never forgotten. His strong presence will always be with the family.

  16. reply
    Sebrena R Daughtry says

    To the Thomas family my prayers are with u all. Mr. Leon was my Uncle’s best and long life friend until my uncle George X Grant passed away. I remember him very well now they are bck together again in heaven. Rest easy Mr. Leon and tell all my Grant family who are up there that i luv and miss them so. R. I. H. Coach Thomas

  17. reply
    Lewis Taylor says

    We offer our condolences to the family of Leon Thomas. Leon was a warm hearted person and always was ready to give a hand. I knew Leon from many areas, from Norcom, Hall of Fame and as a Kappa brother. Rest In Peace my Brother! God Bless the Family!

  18. reply
    Barbara Cashwell says

    My deepest condolences to the family. Remembering our time in First Calvary Baptist Bible Study class. Leon and Beverly participated fully. We enjoyed our class and worked hard each week ..RIP Leon we will all meet again.

  19. reply
    Laurie Scott and Family says

    Sending my deepest condolences to the family from my family. May God bless you and carry you through this difficult time

  20. reply
    Maggie says

    Rest in Heavenly Peace LEON IN THE Arms of Jesus. You were a great classmates and friend to me. Ride on War Pony. Class of 1969.

  21. reply
    Mrs. Billy Long says

    Leon will truly be missed. I meant Leo at Joe E Parker Center over 30 years ago. My daughter loved to pinch the back of Leon’s leg when she was three years old. Leon always just laugh and chase her. Thank you for your laugher and jokes, this is the way I’ll remember you always.

  22. reply
    Ethelyn Whitehead Holley ‘69 says

    My deepest condolences to the family of Warren Leon (War Pony) Thomas. I pray that God will give you the strength and peace you need. To my dear classmate the Class of I.C. Norcom 1969 will greatly miss you. Take your rest. Rest In Heavenly peace.

  23. reply
    Ralph Freeman says

    It was always such a joy to talk to Leon. Truly sorry to hear about his passing. If they play Domino’s in heaven he would truly be in the game. Rest in peace my friend!! From Valdosta Georgia

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