Former Church of God First Lady Turns 105

Cleveland, TN–Alice Douglas Thomas, born on July 7, 1916 in Alachua, Florida, was the center of attention earlier this month when she was honored on the occasion of her 105th birthday.

Friends, family, church leaders, and fellow residents of Life Care Center of Cleveland gathered to celebrate with a party including cake, streamers, and three helium filled balloons with the numbers 1-0-5. Sporting a festive hat, Sister Thomas said, “It’s the best party I ever had in my whole life!”

Among those attending the celebration were family members Oleda Atkinson Rathchford and her husband, W.C. Ratchford. Other family travelled from as far away as Jacksonville, Fla. to attend the celebration. Also present was Church of God General Overseer Tim Hill and his wife Paula. Paula currently serves in the same capacity as Alice did from 1982-1986 when her husband, Dr. E.C. Thomas served the Church of God as general overseer. They served in ministry together for 48 years, from 1941 until his death, on September 22, 1989.

Alice Thomas, seated center, is joined by friends and family including General Overseer Tim Hill, back row, and Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks, left, to celebrate her 105th birthday (click photo to enlarge)

Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks proclaimed July 7, 2021 as “Alice Douglas Thomas Day” in Cleveland, Tennessee. A proclamation was read by the mayor, who also serves in the Communications Department at the Church of God International Offices. It stated in part, “Whereas, Brother and Sister Thomas served in Church Administration; from the State Level to the highest elected levels of the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee as follows: State Youth and CE Director, North Carolina 1947-1952; Credit and Sales Manager, Church of God Publishing House 1954-55; Business Manager Church of God Publications 1955-1970; State Administrative Bishop -Virginia 1970-74; State Administrative Bishop – Alabama 1974-76; State Administrative Bishop – North Carolina 1976-78; Executive Committee, General Secretary 1978-82; Executive Committee, General Overseer 1982-86; and . . . .Whereas, Sister Alice Thomas herself served at the highest office of ministry for women as International President of Women’s Ministries 1982-1986. and still serves in ministry to our “City With Spirit” as a Mother of Prayer to all who call upon him in the Name of the Lord; And Whereas, “Proverbs 31:29 speaks of a lady of excellence because of her character, commitment, contributions and compassion. Alice Douglas Thomas is a lady of unique ability, sterling character, sharp sensitivity, and beauty of life. She is humble of heart and triumphed in life.” (excerpts from a tribute written by her nephew, Dr. Walter P. Atkinson, June 14, 1997).

The resolution concluded urging “Cleveland and all our citizens to pay special tribute to this outstanding lady on her 105th birthday.”

“If it is Alice Thomas Day in Cleveland, then it’s got to be Alice Thomas Day in the Church of God,” Tim Hill told the gathering. “She represents so much that is great about humanity, so much that is great about Cleveland and so much that is great about the Church of God. Sister Thomas, we love you and thank God for you.” Hill followed up his comments with a medley of gospel songs.

In addition to her ministry service alongside her husband, Alice Thomas worked for ten years in the Department of Records at the International Offices. She has been a member of the North Cleveland Church of God since she was 16, or for the past 89 years.

Mrs. Thomas said the secret to long living is to stay active. According to the Life Care Center director, Jeanne McCann, Alice makes her bed every morning, and enjoys reading, word find puzzles, and playing bingo.

Print This Post Print This Post