Sarah Martha Mathis was born in Sandersville, Georgia on January 31, 1939 to John Mathis and Willie Bell Solomon. When she was two, the family moved to Ojus, Florida. Educated in Miami-Dade County, she was a proud graduate of the 1958 class of Miami Northwestern Senior High School, where she studied cosmetology and she was given the nickname “Legs” due to her tall stature.
Soon after graduation, Sarah met William "Big Earl" Thomas, and they were married March 23, 1961. From this union, four beautiful children were born. Sarah was a doting mother and wife, who took pride in her family and her home. You’d never see a sock on the floor or a bowl in the sink. Everything had a place in her home, and she instilled that in her children. She also loved to cook and entertain for her family and friends. Known to fire up the grill on the 4th of July or cook up an elaborate Thanksgiving meal in November, everyone knew whose house they could go to for a plate on the holidays. If there was an event at the church, Mother Thomas’ potato salad and lima beans were always expected. She got great joy out of people enjoying her food.
Sarah loved to travel and enjoy life. She was a member of a club called the “Socialites," a group of friends who gathered monthly at one another's house to eat, drink, and socialize. They held banquets and parties, also supporting other sisters who held events such as theirs. Fridays were for her and her best friend, Johnnie Mae. They started at the crack of dawn and made it in after the sunset: a full day of shopping, eating, talking, movies - just enjoying life. She also loved to go to Disney World at least twice a year. The first trip would be with the kids, and the second would be just her and Johnnie Mae, enjoying the park kid-free.
Sarah worked in the manufacturing industry for many years. Her last place of employment was Filpak Inc. in Hallandale. She retired from her supervisory position in 2005; then she became a caregiver. Sarah always had a caregiver’s heart. She cared for her brothers when they were ill as well as her mother. In 2003, she became a full-time caregiver to her child, Tammy. She gave up her job and all extra-curricular activities to care for her child. It was not an easy task, yet she did it for 17 years straight with minimal help. Tammy became her top priority, and she cared for her until her health would no longer allow her to do so.
Sarah always loved her Heavenly Father and drew near to Him. She was a member of Chattie Grove Missionary Baptist church as a child and remained there for many years. She made sure she and her children were in church every Sunday. She was a faithful member until Chattie Grove was acquired by Aventura developers. She then joined Macedonia and served on the usher board. Her last church home was Believers in Christ, where she also served as an usher. She later became a Mother of the Church until her illness prevented her from performing as needed. One of her passions was to visit and pray for the sick and shut-in. Every Sunday, she and other church sisters would go to a home, hospital, or facility to visit fellow church members and pray for them.
Sarah loved her family, friends, and neighbors. She was a strong, stern, caring, and passionate woman. To know her was to know that she had no problem setting you straight if need be. She shot straight from the hip, holding back nothing. That strength, tenacity, and love were what she used to rear her children as a single parent. There was not a need her children had that she did not meet. She showed her children the true meaning of a mother’s unconditional love.
In the early hours of July 31, 2023, Sarah Martha Thomas was called home to be with the Lord. She went to sleep on this side and woke up in Paradise. Heaven has gained a beautiful angel. While we mourn her passing, we rejoice in knowing she is safe in His arms.
Sarah was preceded in death by her parents, John Mathis and Willie Bell Solomon. She was also preceded in death by 5 of her 11 siblings: Abner Eddie Scott Jr., John W. Mathis, Billy Mathis, Willie Clyde Solomon, and Dorothy Harris.
She leaves precious memories to be cherished by her children: Earl A. Thomas, Terry Thomas-Oliver (Kenneth Oliver), Zina D. Thomas, Tammy E. Thomas, and Sandra Mathis (Gregory Johnson). Siblings: Handy Mathis, Cassandra Mathis, John Wesley Mathis, Debra Mathis Garner, Asberry Mathis, and Norman Mathis. Grandchildren: Travis Crawford, Latoya Neal, Monica Thomas, Kyle Hollingsworth, Tiquilla Brown, Anthony Brown (Wendy Brown), Earlisia Hester, Eric Bryant (Courtney Bryant), Earlana Hester, Zenise Robinson, Earl Hester, Kenneth Oliver Jr., Terry D. Horn, Zaria Dennis, and Derrick L. Thomas. She is also survived by 26 great-grandchildren, her brother-in-law Johnnie B. Harris, sister-in-law Juanita Bolton, and best friends Johnnie Mae Thomas, Pastor Armie Tyson, and Gladys Maloy. Additionally, her prayer warriors and encouragers include nephew, Reginald D. Gray, and niece, Pamela Peete, along with her caregivers: Ann Marie Lambert, Susharna Greenwood, Janice Robertson, and Marlyn Rankine, and a host of loving nephews, nieces, family members, church members, and friends.
Be comforted by these words:
"For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."