The late Eugenia B. Thomas of Miami-Dade County Florida has been inducted into the Child Advocacy Hall of Fame in 2015 for her lifelong exceptional contribution to the lives of children. Eugenia was the first African American president of the Florida Parent Teacher Association (1988-1990), a loving wife, excellent mother and actively engaged her community to better the lives, education and future for children.
The impact Eugenia had upon generations of children in the Miami-Dade communities she served for decades was powerful and significant. Eugenia B. Thomas's legacy of selfless giving to children was recognized in 2001 in Doral Florida with a new multimillion dollar public kindergarten through 8th grade school named in her honor. Eugenia volunteered thousands upon thousands of hours to various child benefiting organization's throughout south Florida. 2015 Child Advocacy Hall of Fame Inductee, Eugenia B. Thomas was the wife to one of the south's first African American judges since the end of the civil war. Eugenia B. Thomas raised two children and was a loving grandmother with seven grandchildren.
Born in the deep south in the Fall of 1924, Eugenia's family moved to south Florida when she was 5. Later that year in October 1929, the stock market crashed signaling the beginning of the Great Depression. This event was catastrophic to her family and millions of other Americans at the time. There were very few employment opportunities during this time in American history and with virtually no social services or programs in place until 1933 when FDR became President, the outlook was dim. Due to these economic pressures and shortcomings, Eugenia's parents were forced to give Eugenia and her two siblings up for adoption.
A member of a local Miami baptist church and a horticulturist named Mr. Bell took Eugenia in and raised her in the church. Mr. Bell taught Eugenia etiquette, social graces and provided her with an outstanding academic environment where Eugenia graduated first in her high school class (Valedictorian) at age 15 before America joined the war in Europe. In June 1940 when Eugenia graduated high school, she was immediately brought on board at the law office of Lawson E. Thomas, one of two practicing African American attorneys working in Miami at the time. This employment enabled the young and ambitious Eugenia the means to attend Florida Memorial University where she flourished in mathematics and walked proudly with cap and gown across the stage to receive her diploma as one of the university's first graduating class (Magna Cum Laude) in 1945 just as the war ended in American victory.
Eugenia continued to work for Lawson Thomas and in 1953, she married him and was his loving and dedicated wife till his death in 1989 at age 91. Eugenia B. Thomas made huge impacts on the lives of children through her direct volunteer time to the PTA, the United Way and the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida. Eugenia gave extensively to the Children's Home Society and received numerous awards in her lifetime for her high achievements impacting the lives and education of children.
2015 Child Advocacy Hall of Fame Inductee, Eugenia B. Thomas's lifetime of advocacy for children has spanned decades and generations of children in south Florida. Her dedication to making life better for children has not gone unnoticed, going way above and beyond the call of duty in setting an example for children, adults and other child advocates. Eugenia's giving continues even today and beyond with an advocacy fund set up by her son John that serves as a loving tribute continuing her tradition of support, civic engagement and child advocacy.
Thank You Eugenia for your decades of outstanding service to children. We are honored to have you as our 2015 Child Advocacy Hall of Fame Inductee.
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