We thank you dear God, for blessing our life’s journey with such a devoted wife, loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother; sweet sister, aunt, loyal first cousin, relative and friend.
On the 26th day of February, 1945, Gwendolyn Marie Brown Thomas was born, in Dallas, Texas, to Felix Arthur Brown and Marie Burnley Brown. She was their first of seven children and the center of their attention. “Gwen” as she was affectionately called, would delight her parents with her ability to whistle as a baby. She was so cute, with big brown eyes and a smile that lit up her face like sunshine. When she was about two years old, Gwen was the winner of the Beautiful Baby contest at the State Fair of Texas. In her pre-school years, she took dance classes, and she excelled in piano lessons. However, her love of music and her natural talent were best expressed by her powerful voice. She was a uniquely gifted songstress.
After Kirkwood Kindergarten, Gwendolyn attended Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, until her parents bought a home and integrated Pear Street in South Dallas. By third grade, she was a student at Charles Rice Elementary School, with her sister, Erma, and her brother Felix, Jr. Since she was the oldest child, she was given much responsibility for her siblings, which she took very seriously. She was stern, but she was the best big sister ever!
During these early years, Gwendolyn was baptized, and became a faithful member of Lawrence and Marder Church of Christ. She sang in the choir at Kirkwood AME Church. Gwen was a Brownie Scout; then, as a Girl Scout, she enjoyed camping adventures. She loved swimming during the summers at the YWCA, playing jacks and spending time with her first cousins and special friends.
At Lincoln High School, Gwendolyn sang with the Maurine F. Bailey Concert Choir. In the early 1960’s, she participated in the Civil Rights Movement with the Youth Council of the NAACP. Later, her days were coupled with the responsibilities of being a young wife, and a mother to four beautiful baby daughters, Dattra, Kimmbly, Yvetta and Carmen.
On her own with her four children, Gwen continued her education in the Dallas Community College District. Her motto was, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” She was employed by Parkland Hospital. She assisted many parents in the process of qualifying for financial aid at Children’s Medical Center. Gwen was among the first to work on grants for the Head Start Program at Julia C. Frazier Elementary School.
On July 17, 1974, Gwen married the “love of her life”, Melvin Thomas. She was devoted to Melvin, and she enjoyed cooking his favorite meals. Melvin’s love for her was the sweetest love, ever. He took great care of Gwendolyn, in sickness and in health, for over 45 years of marriage.
During the next phase of life, Gwendolyn continued her education at Dallas Baptist University, where she majored in Early Childhood Education. She was instrumental in the development of the Eastfield College child care program, for students with children, where she was the Director. In addition, she received Customer Service Certification from the Bill J. Priest Institute and was hired by the Internal Revenue Service, where she worked until retirement.
Gwen led an active life. She was frequently called upon to sing at weddings, funerals and social events. She attended Greater New Zion Baptist Church and sang with the choir. Also, Gwen was a member of the Gospel Gems. She volunteered at the Red Cross, and The Black Academy of Arts and Letters. Gwen loved spending time with her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In recent years, she enjoyed trips to the casino with Melvin, daughter Kim, son-in-law “Doc” and other family members. In addition, she traveled to Houston to spend time with her five sisters at their annual “Siblings’ Retreat”.
In the early morning hours of February 15, 2020, just 11 days shy of her 75th birthday, Gwendolyn quietly departed from her earthly home to eternal life. Our angel, Gwendolyn, is predeceased by her parents, Felix, Sr., and Marie Brown, and only brother, Felix Brown, Jr. She is survived by her devoted husband, Melvin; daughters, Dattra McQuirter, Kimmbly Crumley (Doyle), Yvetta McQuirter and Carmen McQuirter-Alli (Olufemi); sisters Erma Carey-Bay (Edwin), Mary Brown, Jeannette Sneed, Michele Carson, and Micheon Brown; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. She leaves a host of other loving family and dear friends, who cherish her memory.
As Gwendolyn would say, “LOVE YOU…BE BLESSED”
Date: Friday, February 21, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
WAKE: 7-8pm, Friday, February 21, 2020
Black and Clark Funeral Home Chapel
2517 E. Illinois Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75216