We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Mitchell Funeral Home
Eula’s Life Story
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith - 2 Timothy 4:7
The earthly life and pilgrimage of Eula Eyvonne Wiley Thomas began on April 30, 1948, when she was born to the parentage of Elmore Wiley, Sr., and Pernella Weaver Wiley. She grew up in one of the contiguous areas of Arkadelphia, known as Millcreek. She loved and adored the farmland of this area. It was on Thursday, February 3, 2022, in her home, around 5:45 in the morning that her earthly life was completed.
Eula’s formal education began in the Dalark/Sparkman School System. However, she later matriculated in the Arkadelphia School System, graduating from Peake High School in the class of 1965. Later, she enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University graduating in 1970 with a BA degree in Speech and Communication as well as Physical Education. Her education continued at Henderson State University where she pursued and received an MS degree in Community and Family Counseling in 1975. Her formal education was again continued at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the doctoral program. She was able to complete all but the last chapter of her dissertation before family circumstances prevented her from receiving the doctoral degree.
Eula had a stellar career as an educator. It began with her employment for six years at the Arkadelphia Human Development Center as a speech and hearing clinician. In 1977, she began employment at Henderson State University as a counselor and eventually taught Oral Communications under the auspices of the English Department.
During her extended tenure at Henderson, upon the retirement of her colleague and friend, Dean Virginia Smith, she became the sponsor of the Iota Delta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She, of course, was the likely successor of Dean Smith via her own membership in this sorority. Her work at Henderson also included extensive involvement with the Confederation of Black Students Association. In fact, she was honored as “Sponsor of the Year” by the state affiliate of this organization. She retired from Henderson State University on June 30, 2011.
Within the Arkadelphia community, she gave diligent effort to reinvigorating and executing the Arkadelphia Annual Christmas Parade. It was December 2021 when she was privileged to be named and to serve as its “Honorary Grand Marshall”. Notably, this parade was the largest held since its reinstitution.
Further within the Arkadelphia community, she served as past president of the Sunshine and Service Club. She was a part of the conception and inception of the Arkadelphia Women’s Department Club, serving as its first president.
As a local entrepreneur, she and her sister-in-law, Clevia, assumed co-ownership and operated Kaye’s Florist/Enterprise. She later became sole proprietor. Parenthetically, she became the first minority female member of the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
It was during her early childhood that she began her Christian walk with the Lord at Mt. Olive AME in Dalark. She served as secretary of the Sunday school under the superintendency of Bro. Albert Neal. However, after marriage, she was baptized by the late Rev. A.W. Terry and Rev. George Jones after uniting with Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. She remained a dutiful, faithful, and dedicated member throughout her life. For more than four decades, she served as church clerk beginning under the pastorate of Rev. H. Bernard Montgomery. She was bestowed emeritus status after she became physically incapacitated and could no longer serve. Other positions that she served in included chair of the Beautification Committee, a trustee, a deaconess, and an instructor in Vacation Bible School, particularly in the area of recreation.
Eula became the lovely bride of Herman L. Thomas on February 28, 1970. They enjoyed 51 years, 11 months, 5 days, 18 hours, and 45 minutes of blissful marriage. Their marriage was highlighted with the birth of two beautiful, precious daughters, Traci Adrienne (1976) and Tiffani Antoinette (1979). Making their earthly life full and complete was the birth of their two grandchildren, Emma Leigh (2015) and Thaxton Thomas (2016), and a bonus grandson, Lonnie Myles III (1991).
Leaving to relish and cherish her legacy of love, service, and nurturing includes the following: her husband, Herman L. Thomas; her daughter and son–in–law, Traci Adrienne and Charles (Tye) Bragg, their son, Thaxton Thomas Bragg all of Mansfield, Texas; her daughter, Tiffani Antoinette Thomas, and her daughter, Emma Leigh Thomas of Fayetteville, Arkansas; two sisters, Sherrel (Rosboro) Hendrix of Arkadelphia, AR and Vivian Wiley of Henderson, NV; one brother, Larry (Mollie) Wiley of Dalark, AR; three sisters-in-law, Clevia (Elmore Jr., deceased) Wiley of Dalark, AR, Betty Thomas of Shreveport, LA, and Jerri Knoles of Lancaster, CA; a brother-in-law, James (Eunice) Thomas of Shreveport, LA; eldest aunt, Ora Belle Hale Wiley; eldest cousin, Ruthie T. Williams Knox, and five godchildren, Byron Forte, Ivan Chambers, Isaiah Hookfin, Jordan Hearn, and Gaibrielle Harper. She was also blessed to mentor and nurture several young ladies and men who remained closely knitted to her as like her own biological children. They are Leisa (Lonnie Jr.) Myles, Karen Butler Hatcherson, Vikita Bell Hardwrick, Billy Logan, and James Hatcherson. Several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, great-great-nieces, great great-nephews, cousins, close friends, and acquaintances will continue to remember and regard the indelible impact of her life.
Finally, giving solace and strength as well as summarizing Eula’s earthly transition is cataloged in the words of the Apostle Paul with what he wrote in I Thess. 4:13-18, and with what the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 57:1-2.
Funeral services are under the direction of Mitchell Funeral Home of Arkadelphia, AR. Public visitation will be Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at Mitchell Funeral Home from 12 noon-5:00 P.M. The funeral will be Thursday, February 10, 2022, at 1:00 P.M. with the Delta Omega Omega Service starting at 11:30 A.M. at Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Arkadelphia where Dr. Lewis A. Shepherd, Jr. is pastor and eulogist. Rev. Johnny Harris will serve as officiant. The burial and final resting place will be at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens in Arkadelphia.