Lydia Thomas, 100

Published 7:15pm Sunday, January 27, 2013

Born: Jan. 4, 1913

Died: Jan. 23, 2013

Lydia Thomas, 100, of Vandalia, died Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo.


She was born Jan. 4, 1913, in Oxford, Miss.,to William and Ora (Wiley) Mullins, the second youngest of 11 children.

She was preceded in death by her parents; two sons, William Roscoe Davidson and Terry Thomas; one grandson, Michael Davidson; three sisters; and seven brothers.

Lydia worked for 40 years as a presser/cleaner at a dry cleaner, the last 20 at Modernizing Cleaners in Dowagiac. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Vandalia since 1955. She loved to sing. She loved to read the Bible as long as she could until her eyesight began to fail. She enjoyed spending time on the lake with her children and grandchildren. Lydia valued education, graduating from eighth grade in 1925, quite an accomplishment for an African-American girl in the segregated South.

Seven of her children went on to graduate from college, with one piece of advice from her, “Do your best.” Lydia will be greatly missed by family and friends. She is survived by two daughters, Velma Davidson, of Vandalia, Gwendolyn Thomas, of Kalamazoo; six sons, Bennie Slate Sr., of Southfield, Richeli,eu Davidson, of Cassopolis, Doug (Renee) Davidson, of Kalamazoo, Roosevelt Thomas of Vandalia, Bernard Thomas, of Vandalia; 14 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Family and friends will gather on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, from 11 a.m. until time of service at noon in the Church of Cassopolis, 520 Pearl St., Cassopolis, with Mrs. Thomas’ grandson, the Reverend Vincent Davidson officiating. Mrs. Thomas will be laid to rest in Bogue Street Memorial Garden, Vandalia.

The family prefers memorial contributions to Cass County Council on Aging, Post Office Box 5, Cassopolis, Michigan 49031.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagner Family Funerals, Cassopolis. Online condolences may be posted at

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