Myrtle Thomas of Minneapolis passed away peacefully on March 20, 2015. Preceded in death by her loving husband, four sisters, and one brother, she is survived by sister Oriole (Albert); children Judge LaJune Lange (Thomas) and James Thomas; grandchildren Lisa, Drumage, James III, Lauren, Sharde’, William, Raphael and Angelina; and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
She moved from the South to escape the injustice and persecution of Americans of African descent and dedicated her life to transform her community and nation as a place of justice for all. She became a lifetime member of the NAACP, worked to get Hubert Humphrey elected mayor of Minneapolis, and with her husband was a frequent visitor to Waverly, MN to meet with Humphrey when he became vice president. She supported many DFL candidates.
While working in the office at Minneapolis Central High School, she encouraged many students who were having challenges in their personal lives. Selected by the Minneapolis Public Schools to participate along with a team of teachers in an experimental summer reading program at Camp Tamarack, she helped students to advance two-to-three grade levels in reading in 10 weeks.
She helped build the present St. Peter’s AME Church in Minneapolis after a fire destroyed the old church building. As an active member, she was a leader in the Missionary Society, Usher Board number two, class leader, Council of Churches representative, National AME Conference delegate and civic educator on the fight against apartheid in South Africa. She worked with AME Church leaders to oppose the tearing down of Black Churches, pass laws and the removal of Black families from urban areas in South Africa.
She loved to travel, visiting her family, attending family reunions, graduations, weddings, flying to islands in the Caribbean, Kenya and South Africa. She attended the first swearing-in ceremony for President Barack Obama.
She enjoyed wearing hats and high heels and wore them with style. She loved her new church, Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, finding real joy and friendship and a pastor who shared her commitment for social justice. She loved her family, and above all she loved the Lord and knew His blessings were on her life.
Funeral service will be on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 11 am, Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 2600 East 38th Street in Minneapolis. Visitation will be one hour prior to the church service. Private interment at Ft. Snelling. Memorials to Augsburg College. Arrangements by Estes Funeral Home, 612-521-6744.