Cover photo for Dr. William Bonds Thomas, PhD's Obituary
Dr. William Bonds Thomas, PhD Profile Photo
1938 Dr. 2023

Dr. William Bonds Thomas, PhD

December 26, 1938 — February 19, 2023

Kalamazoo, formerly Newport News and Hampton, Virgina

William (Bill) Bonds Thomas, 84, died in Kalamazoo, Michigan on February 19, 2023.

As a longtime resident of Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, he was a student at Huntington High, from 1951 to 1956 and teacher of English and speech there from to 1961 to 1966.

In the summer 1964 he taught at Phillips Exeter Academy

Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and taught in Denmark and Belgium as a Fulbright scholar from 1966 to 1969.

He earned his master’s from Hampton University and his PhD from SUNY, Buffalo in 1977 and received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989.

Bill was dean of faculty at SUNY Brockport in Rochester.

In addition, Thomas taught sociology at the University of Pittsburgh in the school of education from 1977 to 2009 and served as an H. J. Heinz endowed professor in religious studies.

During his academic career he authored two books, Nine Speeches by Three Great Americans - John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and No Wind for Their Sails .

Thomas was also published in numerous journals including the University of Chicago Press, Teacher’s College Record, and international journals. In addition, he served as editor for the American Educational Research Journal.

Thomas was a member of the First and Third Baptist Churches and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Thomas was preceded in death by his parents P. Floyd and Helen C.; and sisters Dr. Henrietta Dabney and Mary Helen Jackson.

Survivors include his wife, Karen Thomas; brothers P. Floyd Thomas, Jr. and Leonardo C. Thomas; and a host of nieces and nephews and many friends including Dr. Gerald Johnson, Dr. Kevin Moran, Dr. Tom Reilly, James Dwyer and Valerie and Jim Covyeow.

Services will occur at Cooke Bros. Funeral Chapel Downtown, Newport News, Virginia on March 25 at 10:00 AM Sharp followed by interment at Hampton Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hampton University’s Student Scholarship fund.

Hampton University

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. William Bonds Thomas, PhD, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Cooke Bros. Funeral Chapel & Crematory (Downtown)

1601 27th Street, Newport News, VA 23607

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