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Mary Louise Roberts Thomas was born in an
upstairs bedroom in her beloved family home at 804 Oak Street on
September 11, 1923. She attended John W. Campbell Elementary, which
was across the street from her home. She loved school and playing
with her childhood friends who lived in the area. She talked often
about how they made all of their toys from whatever materials they
could find. She grew up during the Depression, but said she never
new that her family was poor because she had such a wonderful
She was preceded in death by her parents,
Quintas Irvin and Ethel Roberts, her brothers Q. I., Jr. and Robert,
her sisters, Mattie Roberts and Ethel Johnson, and her beloved son,
Robert Scott Thomas.
She is survived by her daughter, Jane Thomas
Crawford, and husband Cary, granddaughters, Sloan and Connor and
nephews and nieces, Gerald and Gail Roberts, Suellen and Jody Davis,
Irving and Norlene Roberts, Carl and Lou Johnson, Linda-Kaye and
Marc Spalding, Marcy and Ron Jones, and Kathy Roberts, and many
great nieces and nephews.
She graduated from Mellon High School and
through the generosity of her brother and sister-in-law, Q. I. and
Virginia Roberts, she attended Tift College in Forsythe, Georgia,
where she graduated in 1945. She accepted a job as a buyer for
Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta, but was persuaded by Hubert
Robinson, principal, to come to Palatka High School to teach
English. During the 36 years that she taught school, she impacted
the lives of so many of her students, many of whom maintained a
relationship with her until her death. She is remembered by many as
the director of the World Lit Shows that she produced for many
years. These shows gave many of her students the opportunity to
display their many talents to the student body and to the public.
The legacy that she leaves is profound and will be a comfort to her
family. She retired from teaching in 1988 to help take care of her
She was a member of First Baptist Church of
Palatka where she had sung in the choir and taught Sunday School for
many years. She was selected as Star Teacher (the precursor to
Florida’s Teacher of the Year Program) for three consecutive years.
This selection was made by the senior student with the highest SAT
score. For many years, she was a member of the Senior Friends Bridge
Group, where she played bridge every Monday. She was very proud of
all of her family and loved spending time with them. She spent many
hours writing a narrative of the Roberts Family history, which she
has added to through the years. She was a wonderful cook and one of
her greatest joys was having her family over for weekly dinners.
She loved to read and study, and never lost her desire to learn or
her quest for knowledge.
Services celebrating Mary Louise’s life will be
held 11:00 AM, Saturday, February 27, 2010 at the First Baptist
Church of Palatka with Reverend Charles T. Rabun, Jr. officiating
and her nephew, Gerald Roberts as the eulogist. The family will
receive friends Friday from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Johnson-Overturf
Funeral Home in Palatka.
Contributions may be made in her memory to the
Haven Hospice Roberts Care Center, 6400 St. Johns Avenue, Palatka,
Florida, 32177 or in Memory of Mary Louise Thomas at Florida School
for the Deaf and Blind, 207 N. San Marco Ave., St. Augustine,