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Betty Joyce Thomas, 90, born in Hot Springs on Dec. 11, 1928, to Orla Ola Miles and Lenolia (Mitchell) Miles, died at peace in Little Rock on April 11, 2019. Betty graduated from Hot Springs High School, and in 1947 met Sgt. Ike Thomas while he was stationed at the Army and Navy Hospital in Hot Springs. They were married after a whirlwind romance and traveled the world as a career Army family.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband Ike; her parents; her brother, Vincent Lee Miles; and sisters, Patsy Searcy, of Hot Springs, Jackie Yokum, of Harrison, and Willeen Rogers, of Aplin.

She is survived by her sister, Nancy Dees, of Porter, Texas; children William Miles Thomas (Lois), of Lancaster, California, and Robert Ike Thomas (Jane D. Evans) and Joyce Ellen Knickerbocker, both of Little Rock; grandchildren, Frances (Brandy) Brannan Kilbourne (Fred), of North Little Rock, Michael Carter (Terry), Loriee Evans (Mark) and Lisa Jane Evans (Cliff), all of Little Rock; great-grandchildren, Isaac, River, Jacob, Ainsley, Zoe and Pace; and stepsons Mike, Matt and Mark Knickerbocker.

Betty finished her Master's degree in social work because of her interest in building the community by helping individuals build and rebuild their lives. She was proud of her work, but believed her greatest life achievement was making a home for her family and raising three intelligent and loving children. Betty modeled strength and dignity and hard work throughout her life and spiced it with a delightful, and often surprising, sense of humor which persisted despite the aches and pains she had. She enjoyed cooking for her family as it grew to include grandchildren, and would sometimes surprise one of us with a favorite dish. Betty always pleased the little ones with a small toy or trinket or some shiny coins.

In her later life she enjoyed traveling with Elderhostel groups abroad. She and Ike built a cabin in the woods at Greer's Ferry Lake where she hunted for mushrooms. When asked how she identified the poison ones she said "I take a small bite and wait a while." For the last 10 years Betty lived in Shepherd's Cove at the Good Shepherd Ecumenical Community. She enjoyed the company of her fellow residents and staff at the Cove and was amused to be one of several Bettys there.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2019, at Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct. (NW corner I-630 and Barrow Rd.). In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Women's Own Worth (

Arrangements by Little Rock Funeral Home, (501)224-2200. Betty's online guestbook may be signed at

Obits on 04/14/2019

Print Headline: Betty J. Thomas

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