Robert Russell ‘Bobby’ Thomas, 77


LILLINGTON — Robert Russell “Bobby” Thomas, 77, passed away Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, at The Clayton House in Clayton.

He was born March 15, 1944, in Sanford to the late Jessie Ruth Wilder Thomas and William Russell Thomas. Bobby was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 26 years, Patsy Cummings Thomas; his brother, Wayne Thomas; and his uncle, Billy Wilder.

Bobby attended Lillington High School graduating with the Class of 1962. He would go on to attend the Fayetteville Technical Institute for Automotive Mechanics graduating in 1964. Bobby went on to pursue a career in automotive services where he became part owner and ran T&J Motors in Lillington where he was a mechanic, sold automotive parts, and LP gas. During his youth, he loved to build hot rods and drive fast with his brother, Rex. Bobby loved to play golf with his brother, Rex, his grandson, Patrick, and his friends. Bobby had a pilot’s license for over 20 years. Some of his true passions were flying his single engine Cessna airplane and shag dancing at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Bobby was a true believer in Jesus Christ our true savior. He was a faithful member of Summerville Presbyterian Church for over 50 years. Most of all, Bobby enjoyed spending time with family and dedicated his life to helping others.

He is survived by his daughter, Toni Thomas of Lillington; his son, Jeff Thomas and wife Laura Thomas of Lillington; his grandchildren, Patrick Thomas, Mason McDonald, and Addy Herrera; his brothers, Rex Thomas and wife Carol of Raleigh and Tommy Thomas of Lillington; his sister, Barbara Wade of Lillington; his sister-in-law, Peggy Thomas of Lillington; his aunt, Betty Lou Wilder of Lillington; and his first cousins, Tony Wilder, Karen Wilder, Donna Rice and husband Charles, and William “Billy” Riedell and wife Pat.

A private memorial service for the family will be held Sunday, Sept. 26, at Summerville Presbyterian Church in Lillington.

Memorial contributions may be made to Summerville Presbyterian Church, 2065 Old U.S. Hwy 421, Lillington, NC 27546.

In accordance with current North Carolina COVID-19 guidelines, the funeral home requests that everyone in attendance practice social distancing and wear a face covering.   

Arrangements by O’Quinn-Peebles-Phillips Funeral Home & Crematory, Lillington. Online condolences at


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