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Former Pilot commissioner Thomas dies

Wendy Byerly Wood Civitas News Service

January 15, 2014

PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Pilot Mountain area lost a familiar face in the community Wednesday with the death of former town commissioner Bob Thomas.


Thomas served on the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners from 1991 to 2003, according to a spokeswoman with the Surry County Board of Elections.


Even during his battle with Parkinson’s disease, Thomas could be seen regularly walking the streets of downtown Pilot Mountain, stopping in at area businesses and restaurants and keeping up with the town’s happenings.


“From my perspective, I can tell you it was an honor and privilege to serve with Bob, because he was well versed in what was going on,” said former commissioner Carolyn Boyles, who also is a distant relative of Thomas. “He stayed current with the happenings around town. He always thought through situations and scenarios, and he always came up with a relatively viable solution.”


“He grew up here and was very dedicated to the town of Pilot Mountain,” said Billy Pell, who served as town manager during Thomas’ tenure on the board. “He was a very, very knowledgeable commissioner and was very active in helping the town grow.


“He loved Pilot Mountain, and he made a wonderful commissioner because his dedication was there.”


Boyles said of Thomas, “He was very concerned. He was a caring compassionate person. He cared about the town, and he had the town’s best interest at heart — what would be best for the people, not what was popular.”


The Pilot Mountain native and graduate of East Surry High School and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte worked for 17 years at the Bank of Pilot Mountain. The bank later merged with Planters Bank, and then Centura.


Thomas had battled Parkinson’s disease for a number of years, and after pastoring at Sulphur Springs Baptist Church for 15 years, he retired on disability in 2007.


A real estate broker, he also owned Pilot View Realty.


Services for Thomas will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Pilot Mountain with burial at Pilot Mountain City Cemetery.


The family, including his wife, Marilyn, will received friends Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the church.


Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at wbyerly-wood@civitasmedia.com or at 835-1513.