Cover photo for Helen Ann Wall Thomas's Obituary
Helen Ann Wall Thomas Profile Photo

Helen Ann Wall Thomas

November 20, 1928 — February 12, 2024

Helen Ann Wall Thomas

            Helen Anne Wall Thomas, the oldest child of Margaret and Bradley Wall, was born in Wadesboro, North Carolina, on November 20, 1928. Anne died peacefully 95 years later on Monday, February 12, 2024. She is survived by her sister, Mary Bradley Wall Garren, of Chapel Hill, and a sister-in-law, Margaret Durham Wall, of Cary, NC. Her sister, Lou Wall, and brother, Joe Thomas Wall, predeceased Anne. She is survived by nieces Delia Wall Leftwich (Tom) and family of Greenville, SC, and Margaret Wall Turner and family of Greensboro, NC; nephews Joe A. Wall (Amy) and family, and F. Thomas McKinnon, both of Charlotte, NC. 

           In 1960, Anne married Howard W. Thomas, Professor of Art at University of Georgia, and a painter of distinguished record. He preceded her in death in 1971. His daughters, Anne Junkerman and Margaret Conner, also preceded her in death. Eight grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and a continuing number of great-great-grandchildren survive from Howard’s family. Many were an important part of Anne’s life.

           Anne graduated from Lilesville High School and earned a BFA and MFA from Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, now UNC-Greensboro. Her teaching career began in the public schools of Oxford, NC, and continued in the Charlotte public schools, including teaching at Central High School for a decade. While teaching in Charlotte, Anne received a Ford Foundation Grant for High School Teachers, allowing her to study and visit West Coast art programs for a year. Following her experience in public schools, she moved to Athens, Georgia, and taught in the Department of Art at the University of Georgia. Her next teaching appointment brought her to Chapel Hill and the Art Department at the University of North Carolina. While working at UNC, she wrote Colors from the Earth: Native Earth Pigments – Their Preparation and Use. Anne moved to Reston, Virginia, for a position as Executive Director of The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE). After a decade in Reston, Anne returned to North Carolina and served for 14 years as Administrator of the Southeastern College Arts Conference. 

           Throughout her career, Anne continued to produce and exhibit art, first serigraphs and later paintings and collages. She exhibited regularly in juried exhibitions in the Southeast and nationally. Her work is included in private and public collections throughout the region. She was represented by Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh until Mr. Hansley’s untimely death. Anne published another book, The Walls of Walltown, inspired by her interest in family history that began while growing up in Lilesville, where she had close contact with grandparents and extended family. The book is a tribute to her forebearers and the heritage she held dear. Throughout her life, she continued to revise and update the publication. 

           A family service for Wall and Lemmond family kin will be held at the Forestville United Methodist Church cemetery family gravesite in Lilesville, NC on Saturday, April 13 at 11:00 am.  A Celebration of Life for friends and family in Chapel Hill is planned for a later date. Anne was generous to many charities supporting the arts and social justice. The family requests memorials be sent to the art or social justice organization of your choice. Or, donations can be made to Three Rivers Land Trust, representing the area within North Carolina’s central Piedmont and sandhills, where Anne’s family settled and continues to have property.

            A small sampling of photographs from Anne’s life and work can be viewed at Condolences may be sent to Mary Wall Garren at 125 S. Estes Dr., PO Box 3322, Chapel Hill, NC  27515.  

             Local arrangements are in care of Leavitt Funeral Home.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Ann Wall Thomas, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Forestville United Methodist Church Cemetery

5238 Vintage Rd, Lilesville, NC 28091

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