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In loving memory of
LaWillia Fern Eaton
  • February 20, 1929
  • -
  • December 10, 2022

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Obituary

Born LaWillia Fern Eaton, the sixth of eight children, she was born to Tom and Nelle Eaton on February 19, 1929, in Leedey, Oklahoma. She was raised on a simple farm tending cattle and riding horses and attended a one-room schoolhouse. Feeding chicken and raising corn, she developed a love for all things and people, which would only grow with each experience in her 93 years.

She lost her father at thirteen, and the family moved to Richmond, California, so her mother could find work. Her brothers loved to dance and would take their little sister along. At one such dance, she met the love of her life, Joseph Eugene Thomas, a sailor from New York.

The two married in Oakland, California, on December 15, 1946, and began their great adventure together. They danced from Oakland, California, to Sunnyvale, California. From there, to Hawaii, and across the country to Jacksonville, Florida, and Brunswick, Georgia. In 1962, Joseph retired from the Navy and moved to Columbus, Ohio, to work at North America Rockwell. By that time, they had created eight new traveling companions.

LaWillia was active in many organizations, such as the Navy Fleet Reserve, neighborhood watch president, and sunbeam appliances demonstrator.

LaWillia created a circle of friends she kept her entire life. Her Christmas Card list consisted of at least 300 cards, including friends from school, relatives, and neighbors from everywhere she lived! She knew the first person she had ever met and kept in touch. Everyone loved her. She just touched people on a personal level. She never met a stranger, remembered a wrong, and always saw passed our faults. She invited people into her life! Playing cards, serving dinner, and welcoming everyone always to visit!

She also lived in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Hardeeville, South Carolina, and Palm Bay, Florida. In 1983, Joseph and LaWillia bought a home they shared the rest of their lives in Lady Lake, Florida.

After retirement, “Joe and Lou” traveled in their R.V. across America many times. They even ventured to Alaska. In addition, they traveled to Italy, Rome (saw the Pope), Germany, and Antiqua. Everywhere she went, she collected flowers, rocks, and people.

“Do onto others as you want done onto you!” was her favorite advice given by her mother.

Joseph and LaWillia were separated by the death of her husband of 63 years, the only man in her life! Lawillia’s seven siblings preceded her in death: Lillie Mearl, Francis, Mountie, Alvin (Shorty), Velta, Flora Mea, and Leo. She is survived by seven of her eight children; Patrick Thomas, Joyce Smith, Virginia Walker (deceased), Cathy Medina, James Thomas, Nelle Handy, Chris Thomas, Teri Sue Barnett, 22 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great Grands! and many more she claimed, too many to count!

LaWillia loved and was loved by everyone she met and will be missed by all. Services will be held at Bushnell National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida, at 1:00 p.m. on December 20, 2022.  Arrangements entrusted with BALDWIN BROTHERS Funeral & Cremation Society-Spanish Springs, 352-480-5959.  Sentiments are encouraged at www.baldwincremation.com.


Service

Location:
Florida National Cemetery
6502 Southwest 102nd Avenue, Bushnell, FL 33513
Get Driving Directions



Date & Time:
December 20, 2022 at 1:00 PM


Cemetery:
Florida National Cemetery
6502 Southwest 102nd Avenue, Bushnell, FL 33513
Get Driving Directions


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Tribute Wall

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  1. Kathleen Thomas says:
    19 Dec 2022
    I will always remember Aunt Lou with her smiles, her warmth, and the goodness that shimmered inward and outward. May she continue her dance with Uncle Joe in heaven. ❤

  2. Kathleen Thomas lit a candle:
    19 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 19, 2022 at 12:47:09 PM

  3. beth says:
    19 Dec 2022
    i will miss your mom she was Awesome lady i am glad i got to see her before she passed and she was a fighter and a great person she was still perstint to want do do things

  4. Ann Esposito says:
    18 Dec 2022
    Dearest Lou (as she was known in the Thomas family) was a warm and affectionate woman. She demonstrated a deep respect for family.
    I remember her best as my brother's beloved dancing partner. Together in retirement, they explored the states in their motor home. Lou always found treasures to collect along the way. I can picture them reunited in a heavenly space, dancing the night away.
    May you rest in peace dear sister in law, and may your children and their children cherish the memories you made together.

  5. Ronda Vakulich posted an image:
    18 Dec 2022
    Saying good bye to Grandpa
    Saying good bye to Grandpa

  6. Ronda Vakulich lit a candle:
    18 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 18, 2022 at 12:35:34 AM

  7. Ronda Vakulich lit a candle:
    18 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 18, 2022 at 12:35:07 AM

  8. Morgan lit a candle:
    17 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 17, 2022 at 12:34:37 AM

  9. Elizabeth lit a candle:
    17 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 17, 2022 at 12:36:56 AM

  10. Jill Towne lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:00:19 PM

  11. Laura Coleman lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:16:42 PM

  12. Pearl Thomas lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:44:59 AM

  13. JoAnn Cherrington lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:08:49 AM

  14. JoAnn Cherrington says:
    16 Dec 2022
    Aunt Lou always filled our hearts with love & laughter. Our family is blessed that your spirit will live on through all those who love you! JoAnn & Kevin

  15. Nelle lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:01:54 AM

  16. robert Replogle lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:41:27 AM

  17. Melody Dawn Thomas says:
    16 Dec 2022
    You will be truly missed by us all! We love you from our earthly bodies and one day to our heavenly bodies. We know without a shadow of doubt that you will be watching over us at all times and we all take much comfort in this! From all of us your family in South Carolina my Godspeed Mom you will be forever be in our hearts. Dawn, Jim, Josh, Joshua Thomas.....Jessica Chris Hailey and Adam Jennings.....Jamie Zach Rhyse and William...Joseph Christy Lily Irelyn and Bryce and Lisa Thomas. We love you!

  18. Melody and James Thomas lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:20:16 AM

  19. Kelly Updyke lit a candle:
    16 Dec 2022
    Lit since December 16, 2022 at 12:59:42 AM

  20. Kelly Updyke says:
    16 Dec 2022
    She will be the most wonderful angel. Thoughts, love, hugs and prayers heading your way. May she rest in eternal peace.
    Love the Updykes

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