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1925 Reverend Thomas 2024

Reverend James Herbert Thomas

May 4, 1925 — February 10, 2024


The Reverend James Herbert Thomas, 98, of Smoaks, SC passed peacefully into his heavenly home on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Herbert was born on May 4, 1925 to Joe C. and Alma B. Thomas, he was the third of ten children. Herbert is survived by his two children, Betty Herbert Thomas Willyerd and James Thomas Jr. (Jennifer). He is also survived by grandchildren, Lindsay Willyerd, Mandy Carter (Sam), James Thomas III, Noah Thomas and Weslyn Thomas; and great-grandchildren, Braylen Willyerd, Tripp Carter, and Sullivan Carter; brothers, Ray Thomas (Elva) and Frank Thomas (Marie); and sister, Eva Thomas Beach; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Herbert is predeceased in death by his loving wife of 44 years, Betty Hightower Thomas; son-in-law, Randy Willlyerd; grandson, Thomas Willyerd; brothers, William, Rodney and Jacob Thomas; and sisters, Susie Smith, Bettie Mitchum and Helen Cooper. 

Herbert was a World War II veteran, enlisting in the Navy in 1943 and serving onboard the USS Donaldson until his discharge in 1945. After discharge, he pursued his call to ministry, and attended Wofford College where he obtained his bachelor’s degree and later obtained his license to preach in 1951 after attending Lutheran Seminary. He received his first pastoral appointment immediately after receiving his license.  Over his years of ministry, he has served congregations in Olar, Joanna, Greenville, Newberry, Florence, Gilbert, and Pageland. He completed his service after 64 years and fully retired from Main Street Methodist Church in Bamberg, South Carolina. At age 90 he stopped serving as a fill-in pastor when home ministers needed to be away.  His favorite part of ministry was sharing his messages to the congregation on Sunday mornings.  Herbert remained a loyal member of the South Carolina United Methodist Conference and upon retirement returned to his home congregation of Green Pond United Methodist Church. 

After retirement, he enjoyed spending time in his garden where he grew summer vegetables and sugar cane. He received great joy from grinding and cooking sugar cane, butchering hogs, and reminiscing of days of old. He spent many years restoring Model Ts and loved to tinker with his tractors. He instilled a love of fishing and hunting in his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks to MSA Hospice and Dr. Christopher Cooper for their devoted care over the last several months, Veteran’s Last Patrol for their service to the military community, and our numerous family and friends who have offered prayers and support during this time. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking memorials be directed in his memory to the following: Green Pond United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Ray Thomas, 3568 Sunrise Highway, Smoaks, South Carolina 29481; or to, Veteran’s Last Patrol, 140 Venture Blvd, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29306.

Relatives and Friends of The Reverend James Herbert Thomas are invited to attend his funeral service which will be conducted at 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon, February 17, 2024, from Green Pond United Methodist Church, 7257 Augusta Highway, Smoaks.   Interment will follow in the churchyard.  The family will receive friends prior to the funeral ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. that afternoon in the church sanctuary.     

 Arrangements by:  THE BRICE W. HERNDON AND SONS FUNERAL HOMES AND CREMATORY, WALTERBORO CHAPEL, 1193 Bells Highway, Walterboro, 843.538.5408.  Visit the registry online at:

To send flowers to the family in memory of Reverend James Herbert Thomas, please visit our flower store.


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