Phyllis Elaine Walcott Jennings Thomas was born June 21, 1930 to the late Allan Walcott Sr. and Sadie Tobias in Cleveland, OH. Phyllis was the eldest daughter of six children: Allan Jr. and Albert, Xenophon, Lemuel, and Monica, all deceased.
Phyllis attended Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament School and Church, the first Black Catholic Parish in the Diocese of Cleveland and received her sacrament of Holy Communion in 1939. She attended St. Edward's High School, graduated in 1949 and started a career in the garment industry as a seamstress. She inherited her love of sewing from her grandmother, who was also a seamstress.
Phyllis met and married Frank Jennings, a supervisor for Westinghouse Electric and former Army serviceman, and from this union came four children, Gregory, Bryce, Francine, and Eric. Phyllis was a resident of the City of East Cleveland for over fifty years and was an active member of the Third Avenue Street Club. Frank and Phyllis raised their children in the Catholic faith, where they attended St. Philomena Catholic School and later, Shaw High School in the East Cleveland Public School District. Years after the death of Frank, Phyllis met and married Eddie Thomas.
After the closing of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Phyllis joined St. Adalbert Catholic Church and was a member until her death. She was also an active member of the Ladies of St. Peter Claver, an auxiliary group of the Knights of St. Peter Claver. Phyllis volunteered with Hunger Center of Cleveland for many years until its closing. Phyllis had an eye and love for antiques and thrifting and opened her business, Cedar Thriftique Shop which sat on the corner of 86th Street and Cedar Ave. She operated the store until 2001 and entered retirement. Phyllis's store was a staple of the developing Fairfax Business District. During retirement, you could find Phyllis keeping up with her hobbies of stamp collecting, crafting, and thrifting. Phyllis continued to be a constant support in the lives of her children, grandchildren, and extended family. An avid bibliophile, Phyllis boasted a library that contained a variety of topics ranging from African American studies to Native American herbal practices.
Phyllis E. Thomas departed this life on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. She was in the company of her daughter, Francine and took her wings in the afternoon to enter eternal rest. Phyllis leaves to mourn her passing, her daughter- Francine Jennings; grandchildren, Taran, Nakia, La'Ron, Melinda, Erika, and La'Sharon. Those who preceded Ms. Thomas in death are as follows: Frank Jennings, husband, Eddie Thomas, husband, Bryce and Eric Jennings, sons, and Shannon Walcott, grandson. Phyllis leaves a host of nieces, nephews and friends who loved her just as much as she loved them.
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