Elizabeth Thomas Perkins Foreman Gilliard

Published 1:54 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013


‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Elizabeth Thomas Perkins Foreman Gilliard was born Aug. 19, 1933 in Phillips County, Ark., to Pearlie Ware Thomas and George Thomas. On Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at 03:23 a.m., she went home to join her parents and her Heavenly Father.

She confessed Christ as her savior at an early age at the New Light Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. C. L. Franklin. As a member of the church, she served as a Sunday school teacher and choir member for years. For a short period, she was a member of Centennial Baptist Church and diligently served as member, Sunday school teacher, and officer. She worked hard for the restoration of the historical church. Upon returning her membership to New Light, she continued to serve there until her illness incapacitated her.

Education was of importance to Elizabeth. She attended Eliza Miller High School and Phillips County Community College where she developed an interest in business. She had a full career at Sanyo Manufacturing Company, formally Warwick Manufacturing, for more than 30 years, until her retirement in 1997.

Her experience as a trailblazer spanned more than half a century, beginning in July 24,1967 as a member of St. Ruth Chapter Order of Eastern Star. She was an original founder and First Charter Member of the Order of the Eastern Star — New Bethel Chapter 24 in the 80s. Elizabeth served in the positions of member, elected officer, Worthy Matron, Grand Worthy Matron, Secretary, Treasurer and Past Worthy Matron. She was part of the United Supreme Grand Chapter, Grand Mt. Moriah of Little Rock Order of Eastern Star, New Bethel Chapter 324, Heroines of Jericho, and Lady Knights Templar. With her involvement in the Order of Eastern Star organization, she participated in community activities such as fund drives, OES providing college scholarships, awards, and donating her time to the community.

ln the late 90s, Elizabeth played a pivotal role in organizing the annual gathering for retired employees of Sanyo. She enthusiastically enjoyed the Eliza Miller High School class reunion year after year.

Elizabeth leaves behind to cherish her memories one brother, James Frank Thomas of St. Louis, Mo.; one sister, Gloria Williams (Thomas) Kates of Bogalusa; one daughter, Charlotte Perkins M. Phillips of Dewitt, Ark.; two daughters-in-law, Hattie Brimley Perkins of Charlotte, N.C. and Lestyne Perkins McCune of Birmingham, Ala.; one son, Kenneth Wayne Sr. (Mavis) Perkins of Westwego; two brothers-in-law, Dennis Kates of Baton Rouge and Paul (Vicky) Kates of Bogalusa; her beloved grandchildren, Euell Brian (Rebecca) Thomas of Denver, Colo., Eric Lafayette (Dow) Perkins of Charlotte, N.C., Erin Coran Perkins of Greensboro, N.C., Karl Renard Perkins Jr. of Garfield, Ark., Kandace Rene’ Perkins of Windom, Ala., Korey Perkins of Helena and Kalab Renard Perkins of St. Louis, Mo., and Kenneth Wayne Perkins Jr. (JR), U.S. Navy stationed in Japan; two step-grandsons, Robert Reynolds of St. Louis and Rufus James Trammell of Fort Smith, Ark.; one step-granddaughter, Vonkendra Murrel of Helena; and five great-grandchildren.

She also leaves to cherish her memory a special cousin, Mac Arthur (Jerdean) Sullivan of Helena and Johnnie Mae Thomas of West Helena; and a special friend and neighbor, Nellie Woodridge. She will be dearly missed by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Pearlie Ware Jones Thomas Williams; her father, George Thomas; a sister, Alberta Jones Bell; two sons, Curtis Lafayette Perkins and Karl Renard Perkins; Brother-in-law, James H. Bell; and daughter-in-law, Carolyn Williams Perkins.

Her husbands, L.P. Perkins, Tommy Foreman and Alexander Gilliard, preceded her in death.