Dr. Joseph Calvin Thomas, age 88, of Florence, Alabama, passed away November 8, 2021.
Visitation will be Saturday, November 13th at Greenview Funeral Home from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Services will follow at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be at Greenview Memorial Park in Florence.
Joe Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, Reverend George and Trilby Thomas and a sister, Maribel Thomas. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Elisabeth Johnson Thomas, of Florence; daughter, Brenda Gahan (John) of Williamsburg, Virginia; granddaughter, Rebecca Brown (David) of Salmtal, Germany; grandson John Gahan (Rachel) of Birmingham, Alabama; and grandson David Gahan of Mobile, Alabama.
Joe Thomas was a graduate of Asbury University earning a B.A. degree with honors in Mathematics, Chemistry, and secondary education in 1954. After Asbury, he graduated with an MA in science education and Chemistry and then a doctorate in Science education and Chemistry from the University of Kentucky finishing in 1961. He joined the UNA faculty in 1961 when it was Florence State College and when the science department only consisted of courses tailored to education students. He started as an associate professor and went on to create the degrees in the science curriculum. He advanced through the ranks as associate professor, professor, head of the science department, associate dean and then dean of the school of arts and sciences, dean of faculty and instruction and finally Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost for eleven years until he retired in 1998. The new UNA Science and Technology building features a specialty chemistry classroom named in Joe Thomas’ honor and Joe Thomas started a gift of a scholarship – Joseph and Elisabeth Thomas Endowed Chemistry Scholarships. Joe Thomas was UNA’s liaison officer in the establishment of the Marine Environmental Science Consortium of Alabama and the Dauphin Island sea lab. After his thirty seven years at UNA and serving in leadership roles in many professional associations, Joe Thomas received a resolution of commendation from the State of Alabama commission on Higher Education. He was also very involved in the First United Methodist Church of Florence, serving as Chairman of the board of trustees and past Chairman of council on ministries and Administrative Board.
Special thanks to Brentwood Retirement Community and Mitchell Hollingsworth station 3 for their loving care during the past year.
For those who wish, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Florence