YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – On June 19, 1934, Thomas Samuel Phifer was born to Dillard Phifer Sr. and Ethel Mae Jemison Phifer in Montgomery, Alabama. As oldest of six children, his life exemplified loving care.
When he became old enough, he helped his father earn money by selling wood, fruit and vegetables. He also worked in the corner store and shoe shop his father owned.
After graduating from George Washington Carver High School in Montgomery, Thomas relocated to Youngstown, Ohio in 1953.
He found work at Republic Steel in Youngstown, however, he left his job to serve in the U.S. Air Force.
While in the Air Force, Thomas was able to travel to many foreign countries, including Germany, England, France, Rome and Denmark. He was honorably discharged on March 21, 1962. Upon returning from serving his country,
Thomas joined the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Youngstown. He continued to live a life of loving care by serving in the Willing Workers Ministry and as a Trustee. He also enjoyed participating in the Men’s Sunday school class. If food needed to be prepared for serving the homeless or if the church grounds needed a good cleaning, he was there to work in whatever capacity he was needed. The Tabernacle Baptist Church named Thomas Phifer the 2010 Man of the Year.
In the winter, Thomas could be found riding his snow blower around the neighborhood, cleaning snow from neighbors’ driveways. Any senior citizens he knew who had odd jobs that needed to be completed could depend on him to do it.
Thomas’ strong work ethic was also evident in his work career. After returning from the Air Force, he resumed working in the steel mill. He received training to become a craneman and proceeded to work 44 years in the steel mill, retiring in 1997. During his career, he received various accolades from his supervisors.
Although he was a hard worker, Thomas knew how to balance his life. Family vacations to visit relatives and even a cherished trip to Disney World highlighted his summers. Thomas kept fishing rods in his pickup truck, just in case he wanted to stop and fish. He was also a hunter who brought home deer, rabbits and other wild game for his family to feast on. An avid gardener, Thomas regularly grew scrumptious vegetables. One year, he tended rows of corn that grew as tall as the roof of his home. With all of these accomplishments, the one that brought Thomas the most joy was his family.
As a young boy, Thomas showed his knack for knowing what he wanted when he found his junior high school sweetheart, Corine Alexander Phifer. Their over 50 year marriage blessed them with three children, Lonnie K. Phifer (Debra) of Lithonia, Georgia, LeTanya R. Brown (Gary) of Youngstown, and Rebecca A. Mathis (Anthony) of Stone Mountain, Ga.
He was a loving grandfather to Jalana N. Phifer of Warren, Ohio, Jonai R. Cooks (Andrew) and Janelle A. Brown of Youngstown, Jacob T. Phifer and Jordyn A. Phifer of Lithonia, Ga., and Anthony Mathis Jr. and Alexa Mathis, both of Stone Mountain, Ga.
He was blessed to see his great-grandchildren, Andrew C. Cooks III and Elijah V. Cooks of Youngstown.
His siblings, Corine P. Darby, Ethelene P. McGruder, and Dr. Donald S. Phifer (Rita) of El Paso, Texas; his brother-in-law, Enoch Alexander Jr. (Jacquelyn) of Montgomery; and Aunts Bessie Jemison of Chicago, and Estelle S. Evans of Montgomery will also miss him.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Dillard Phifer Jr.; and his sister, Mary P. Turner.
Services will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, 707 Arlington St., Youngstown, OH 44505. Viewing will be from 9 to 10 a.m. The homegoing service will be held at 10 a.m.
Arrangements entrusted to the L.E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.http://www.vindy.com/news/tributes/2012/mar/15/thomas-samuel...