Joyce Marie Thomas, 71, of Dallas, TX passed away on December 6, 2019. Ironically, she was not in her beloved recliner where she had threatened for years it would happen. We all thought that she would make good on that threat. But, she was hand-in-hand with her daughters as she drifted peacefully to sleep.
She left behind a ridiculous amount of “stuff” for us to sort through. It’s probably going to take years. We have no idea what to do with all of it. So, if you want any of her “stuff” (televisions and valuables, obviously excluded), please wait an appropriate amount of time and get in touch. Tomorrow will be fine. Her favorite dishes to make for any potluck or family gathering were broccoli and cheese casserole or banana pudding. If you want the recipes for either, call Keitha. But, it would probably be just as easy to get the pudding recipe from the side of the Nilla Wafers box. You’re welcome.
Joyce was born on Flag Day, June 14,1948 in Houston, TX to Johnnie B. Pendleton. She and Muddear had a fervent relationship. Their interactions usually ended in an argument over an ill-fated domino game. There was normally a sister or two nearby to referee, so it never got too serious. That was their bond. I’m about 92% certain that they loved each other very much. Our mom was a feisty redhead that lived her life her way. She even had us call the Chaplain out twice for Last Rites. Then she got up the next morning and requested steak and eggs for breakfast. And she never held her tongue. Ever. This was much to the dismay of her children and almost everyone within earshot. That’s what made her so much fun to be around. We loved her quick wit, dry humor, brutal honesty, and charismatic personality. She graduated from Booker T. Washington in 1967 and soon after married her first husband (his name isn’t important). That guy shot her. But don’t worry, she survived the shootout and went on to marry a much cooler dude. Enter our dad, The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Tommie Lee Thomas, Jr. That was a much happier union. Together they had a pretty dope little family with three kids, a house, and a couple dogs. She wasn’t a huge fan of the dogs, but they liked her well enough. Joyce was passionate about her ice water in an insulated mug with the perfect ice-to-water ratio, playing softball in her younger years, and gambling. She was an avid bingo player. So much so that my sister and I had memorized most of the local bingo hall telephone numbers along with her rotation schedule during the week. On weekends, you could usually find her at the card table in Ms. Willie Mae’s kitchen until the wee hours of the morning. Those were the good old days.
Ma’s favorite shows were Walker, Texas Ranger, In The Heat of the Night, Daniel Tiger (with Ethan), and Criminal Minds. Who doesn’t love a good Criminal Minds marathon with Shemar Moore tackling the perp in every episode? She swore that man was going to be our stepdad. Our mom was loved by so many people. All of the neighborhood kids were welcome at our house. And she treated each one like her own. Any of our friends could tag along with us to her softball games, bingo night, or to watch wrestling at the Sportatorium every Friday night. Jamahl and Timothy usually hopped in the car just as we were about to turn the corner. It didn’t matter if you needed food, clothes, or just a place to feel at home, the door was open. Her love of crime TV was only surpassed by her love of cigarettes. She often combined these two interests while lounging in her recliner with her oxygen on full blast. And Twix. She LOVED Twix. But, only the left ones.
Joyce is reuniting in Heaven with her husband, Tommie Lee Thomas, Jr; son, Tommie Lee Thomas III; bonus son, Kendrick Tennison; granddaughter, Gianna Langley; mother, Johnnie B. Pendleton; sisters, Alice Johnson and Betty Pendleton; and her favorite (goodness knows why) nephew, Emmett Pendleton.
She leaves behind to cherish her memory, a highly dysfunctional family that she was extremely proud of, including her best-liked daughter, La Kendra Barnard and her husband, Joel; her other, only slightly less-liked daughter, La Keitha Joy Perry; grandsons, Adam II, Matthew, Tommie, Anderson, and Ethan Perry; sisters, Molly Thomas, Bobbie Jean Washington, Doris Pendleton, and Carolyn Lee; and her son-in-law, Adam B. Perry Sr., with whom she had a very special and comical relationship with, as well as a host of extended family, friends, and loved ones.
A private Celebration Of Life was held in lieu of a formal service due to most of her friends not being able to attend, because she outlived them all. Please note, that her change of address will actually be two addresses. She was cremated as she requested, because she was claustrophobic, and was adamantly against burial. Her ashes will be divided between her daughters. La Kendra wants to use them to make a crystal paperweight. La Keitha is going to plant a tree. Joyce wanted to be a strawberry tree, but strawberries grow on vines. It will definitely be a fruit tree. We probably won’t be eating the fruit though, but we could donate it to her favorite food pantry.
Today is a bittersweet day for the people left here without her, but we are smiling for the ones that are welcoming her home.
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