Patricia Lee "Pat" Thomas departed this life on July 8, 2018, at St. John's Hospital in Tulsa.
Pat was born on October 20, 1931, in Panama, the daughter of Oscar Lee and Violet Tobey. Pat graduated from Panama High School and then received a B.A. in education from Northeastern Oklahoma State University and an M.A. in education from the University of Oklahoma. Pat was a lifelong educator.
She began her career teaching English at Stigler High School and then became a professor of composition, American literature, and humanities at Eastern State College where she taught for 48 years, making her the longest tenured professor in Eastern's history.
In 1968, Pat was elected as one of the original board members of the Kiamichi Vo-tech School District (now known as Kiamichi Technical Center), becoming one of the first women ever elected to public office in southeastern Oklahoma. She served on the board until 1996, and was inducted into the Kiamichi Hall of Fame in 2000.
Pat was a lifelong member of the American Association of University Women and served in leadership positions including national president.
In 1979, Pat was appointed to the First Governor's Commission of the Status of Women by then Governor George Nigh.
Pat was a devoted member of the First Baptist Church of Wilburton from 1962 until her death. Pat served the church as a Sunday school teacher, a member of the choir, and, in her later years, in the church nursery.
Even though Pat did not get a driver's license until she was 31 years old she spent much of the next 30 years as a "chauffer" helping to drive Joe to his collegiate football and basketball officiating assignments throughout the south central United States.
However, Pat's greatest passion was teaching. In her five decades at Eastern, she taught over 15,000 students from throughout Oklahoma, the nation, and indeed the world. It is those students who are her enduring legacy and the impact on their lives is inestimable. Amazingly, Pat found time to coach the Eastern cheerleading squad, who won the National Collegiate Championship in 2005.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, David Joe Thomas; her sister, Joyce Meixner; her daughter, Christina Melinda Calvin, and her grandson, Hunter Lee Thomas.
Pat is survived by her son, David Lee Thomas and wife, Amy, of Oklahoma City; her daughter, Margaret Sorrell and husband, Charles, of Wilburton; her son, Charles Thomas and wife, Ava, of Wilburton; her grandson, Charles Eugene Sorrell IV; granddaughter, Alexandria Rose Thomas; grandson, Michael Ellis Jr.; granddaughter, Patricia Quantie; grandson, Paxton Lee Thomas; granddaughter, Charleigh Jo Thomas; great-granddaughter, Kinley Elizabeth Violett; nephew, Eugene Gee III, and a host of friends and colleagues.
Pat's love and compassion for all God's creatures, both human and animal is best summed up by her reply when she was once asked why she persisted in feeding the stray cats on the Eastern Campus - "because they're hungry".
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Wilburton. A private internment will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Pat's name to either the Eastern Oklahoma State College Foundation (Children's Theater Fund), 1301 West Main, Wilburton, OK, 74578, or to "PAWS", P.O. Box 76, McAlester, OK, 74502. Please place Pat's name in the memo line.
Published on July 11, 2018