Bobbie Beckham

(5-26-24) service 5-31-24


Bobbie Beckham
Sept. 16, 1934 -May 26, 2024
Bobbie Beckham Sept. 16, 1934 -May 26, 2024
Bobbie Beckham, 89, of Savannah, passed away on Sunday, May 26. She was born in the sprawling metropolis of Olive Hill, Tennessee, on Sept. 16, 1934. Approximately two years later she was adopted by her loving uncle and aunt, Joe B. and Emma Dickson Beckham. She was a beautiful child who blossomed into a beautiful young lady—one who fell in love with Frank Wilson Thomas, the man with whom she would elope to Corinth, Mississippi, at the age of 17. Their marriage on Jan. 7, 1952 would last for over 71 years, ending only at the death of her beloved Frank on Nov. 15, 2023, and would produce three sons, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Bobbie, whose legal name was actually Mary Rob (a fact known by very few people—until now) spent her life in Hardin County, growing up in Olive Hill before moving to Savannah. She graduated from Savannah Central High School and eventually, along with her husband, became the owner and operator of Ideal Flower Shop. For years she put her artistic talents to good use, designing floral pieces for every occasion. Even after selling the flower shop, she was still in demand as a florist, often creating the arrangements that graced the sanctuary of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church where she and Frank were long time members or tying countless bows for wreaths and Christmas trees.
She left the floral business for a position as a bank teller with what was then Citizens Bank, retiring from the same institution—only then it had become Third National. For years she was the teller in the Main Street branch, a tiny cubbyhole sandwiched between the shops of downtown Savannah where she often sat knitting Christmas stockings, or socks as she called them, while waiting for her customers to walk up. Even as a bank employee, she was still asked to deck the halls of the main branch each year for the Christmas season. From the bank she moved to Main Street Gift Gallery where she worked as a salesperson. Bobbie Thomas was truly one of those people who never met a stranger, and it showed in every job she held and in everything she did.
Once life allowed, Bobbie and Frank began making annual trips to Branson, Missouri; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and Gulf Shores, Alabama, with their group of friends who doubled as their traveling companions. Any spare time she had was constantly filled with creating. It might be hemming the quilts that Frank had made, knitting anything for which she could find a pattern, sewing beautiful clothes for her first two grandchildren, and making whatever costume her only granddaughter might request. She wanted to be Wednesday Addams for Halloween? No problem. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz? Certainly. Her oldest grandson’s first Halloween found him dressed as a clown in orange and black with a giant ruffle that threatened to suffocate him. Fortunately, she was wise enough to make it so the collar could be removed when he’d finally had enough.
In her later years Bobbie began making what her son referred to as “combo units”—potholders sewn to dishtowels in such a way that they could be hung on the handle of an oven or dishwasher. She and Frank would carry them to craft fairs and markets where they were always in demand. And, of course, every Christmas, everyone in the family received a new set. When COVID hit she continued making them, trying to keep busy while preparing for her return to retail sales. Sadly, it was a return that never took place, which might explain why approximately 400 of them were found in the house and storage building, boxed up and ready to go.
Bobbie was one who believed in traditions. It’s why they named their sons Donald Frank after his father, Joseph Earl after his maternal and paternal grandfathers, and Timothy Beckham after the couple who chose to give her a loving home and a better life than she might otherwise have had. It was why the family always gathered for Thanksgiving and Christmas, seated around an extended table that would accommodate everyone. You knew the homemade felt stockings would be hung across the living room window (because there were too many for the mantle) and the Christmas pickle would be hiding in the depths of the tree, waiting to be discovered by the lucky soul who would be rewarded for their powers of observation. And the cranberry sauce would never make it to the table. It was always left, neatly removed from its can and plated for serving, in the fridge... until one year when she actually remembered. The family arrived as the table was being prepared, only to be greeted by a jiggly cylinder of deep red, proudly occupying its appointed place among the other offerings. The tradition of theunserved cranberry sauce was one her daughters-in-law were unwilling to let die, so they quietly snuck it back into the fridge. The meal was half over before Bobbie realized it was missing.
In summary, Bobbie Beckham Thomas was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to her ever growing brood; a woman who put up with a lot being the only female in a house full of men... and who joined her Frank a little over six months after his death.
She leaves her sons, Joe Thomas and his wife Lisa of Savannah,
Tennessee, and Tim Thomas and his wife Amanda of Collierville, Tennessee; her grandchildren, Joseph Thomas and his wife Natalie, Kathryne Guinn and her husband Dennis, Josh Thomas and his wife Morgan, and Jordan Thomas and his wife Teresa, and Jake Thomas; and her great-grandchildren Wilson Reed Thomas, Anderson Hall Thomas, Cora Beckham Thomas, Acker David Thomas, Malcolm Edmund Guinn, Beckham Samuel Thomas, Caris Renee Thomas, and Emma Louise Thomas. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Nell Thomas of Tullahoma, Tennessee.
In addition to her husband and parents, Bobbie was preceded in death by her son Don Thomas and his wife Nancy; her brother-in-law David Thomas; sister-in-law Leona Knotts and her husband Cullom; brothers-in-law Robert Earl Thomas and his wife Dot and Joe M. Thomas and his wife Robbye; her niece Linda Knotts; and her nephews Mike and Mickey Thomas.
Memorial services were held on Friday, May 31, at Shackelford Funeral Directors of Savannah, with Helen Hamilton officiating. Burial followed at Neill Cemetery in Savannah, Tennessee.
Memorial donations may be made to First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 300 Tennessee Street, Savannah, TN 38372.

Bobbie Beckham Obituaries