George Thomas, husband, father, brother, businessman, church leader, woodworker and longtime supporter of Brenau University, died Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, at Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville following an extended illness. He was 87.
At Brenau, Thomas and his wife, Anne Warren Thomas, are perhaps best known as the Gainesville benefactors who helped sustain and grow the nursing program in tough economic times. The Anne Warren Thomas Professor of Nursing and Health Care Leadership chair position is named for her, as she made it possible for the university to build out and occupy its new facilities and establish one of the first human simulator centers in Georgia specifically for training nurses in patient care.
“We are forever indebted to the Thomases,” said Sandra Greniewicki, the Anne Warren Thomas Professor of Nursing. “Their support and leadership has made our nursing school the successful program it is today and had already resulted in outstanding preparation for hundreds of nurses now serving in our communities. I know they had a fine marriage, and my thoughts and condolences go out to Anne and the family.”
George Thomas was born Aug. 15, 1930, in Marietta and attended Culver Military Academy and Georgia Tech, where he received a degree in industrial engineering. He met his wife, Anne, on a blind date, and they were married for 67 years. The Thomases moved in 1956 to Gainesville, where he purchased the Ford Farm and Industrial Equipment. He also became partner in several other businesses, including Georgia Foam, Gainesville and Mid-Atlantic Foam, and Western Wood Products in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
In addition to his service to Brenau and to a number of nonprofits, Thomas was active in the Gainesville Rotary Club, which he served as president and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a deacon and elder at First Presbyterian Church.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. Lee Koontz, the Rev. Shon Peppers and the Rev. Richard Evans officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorial donations be made to the Good News Clinic or to First Presbyterian Church.