Beverly Vanola Armour-Thomas was born on Thursday, February 7, 1963 at 1:30pm in Holly Grove, Arkansas to Mary Christine (Wilder) Armour and the late Earl Charles Armour. Beverly is the second oldest of seven daughters.
In December, 1965 Beverly, her parents and her oldest and youngest sister moved from Arkansas to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Their first home was an apartment above her oldest uncle and aunt’s (Roosevelt and Odessa Hawkins) home on 2135 S. Hanna Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Beverly’s education included James Smart and Hanna Elementary Schools, Portage Middle School, Elmhurst and Paul Harding High Schools. There was something unique and PHENOMENAL about Beverly. She was blessed to be the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Times). Beverly excelled in sports. She was in track, gymnastics, and cheerleading. She also soared in academics. She placed 1st in many speech competitions. One of her most memorable speeches was “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelo. She performed in several high school plays. She also competed in OEA (Office Education Association) and placed in many categories which catapulted her into regional competitions. Beverly’s servitude began as President of Harding’s African American Club. During her reign, she led the club into its first annual talent and fashion show. Beverly was prolific in shorthand writing. She also was labeled one of the fastest typists in her class. Beverly also honed her sewing skills in high school which began with her mother’s teaching. Beverly, alongside her mother, designed and made uniforms for the Greater Progressive Baptist Church Adult Choir.
After taking a short break from college to assist her mother with her younger sisters after the passing of her father, Beverly graduated from Ball State University in May 1986 with her Bachelor’s Degree with double majors: Business Administration and Communication with high honors.
Beverly believed in the Lord and walked in faith. She was a faithful and productive member in the Body of Christ. She attended Wings of Deliverance Tabernacle Holiness Church (formerly Church of God in Christ) in the mid-1970s. She served in many capacities throughout her membership: The Jubilees Singing Group, Choir Director, Choir Member, Church and Pastor’s Secretary, Event Host, Appreciation Chairperson, Sunday School Teacher, Adjutant, Church Historian, and Missionary. She enjoyed serving. Being one of the Fort Wayne (Bible) Readers for the late Bishop Jimmie Clark, Sr., Secretary and Chauffeur for Bishop and Mother Clark and Adjutant for Lady Alesha Clark were a few positions that she adored the most.
Beverly spent a few years at Old Landmark Church of God in Christ to support Dr. Bishop Elton and Lady Edna Amos as their Adjutant, Reader, Sister/Cousin, and Best Friend.
Beverly is blessed to have children from her walks in marriage. Beverly’s children and grandchildren are her life and legacy. They are the joy of her life. Her wealth and her fashion taste flowed to and for them. Her advice and unwavering love for Jordan, Jonathan, Julian, Safiya and Tre’ brought satisfaction and true meaning to her life. Regardless of all the positions and skill sets and gifts she acquired, being a mom was THE BEST POSITION EVER!
Beverly loved all her sisters. She enjoyed her sisters individually and as a group. She was their Number 1 Cheerleader in their own journeys. She knew how to be present in all they did whether it was college or a gospel singing group or cosmetology model or diverse legalities or vocabulary expansion. The only thing Beverly failed miserably in was Ebonics/Urban Slang. The words sounded so professional from her lips.
Beverly loved her family. She was the family’s spokesperson, mistress of ceremony, event organizer and party planner. She was there for the milestones and celebrations. Beverly was a VERY PRIVATE person. She sacrificed much and loved hard.
Beverly loved working. She gave her all in all facets of her responsibilities. Some would say that she owned the place. Her first job was working alongside our long-time neighbor and friend, Cathy Hickman, at Kroger. She was Human Resources Manager at the Southeast Target, Lincoln Life and LincolnRe. During her residence in Bloomington, Indiana, Beverly worked in the Enrollment Admissions Department of Indiana University – Bloomington. Having full passion about supporting the community, Beverly moved her career journey to United Way of Allen County, Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne, and Fort Wayne Housing Authority. She worked as a teacher for the Sewing Class before Elmhurst closed its doors. Beverly’s ministry was both spiritual and professional. She served, guided, coached, facilitated, organized, commanded, and assisted the organization, the CEOs, the staff, the Board of Directors, the stakeholders and the generational clients with great compassion and attention. Her ability to multitask and follow through was prestigious.
Even though her frame was petite and 5 feet and 1 1/2 inches, her presence and her voice made her soar with the eagles. She was influential, motivating and driven. She was a Radio Announcer Stand-in for Delois McKinney-Eldridge at WBNI 89.1 Gospel Channel.
This is how she so eloquently described her voice:
“My natural voice has been described as rich, classy, and soothing. However, I have a unique range and be versatile from fun to serious to authoritative to entertaining to professional. I am a straight announcer with high energy.
I especially enjoy narrations and business presentations that bring an African American accent -dramatic and powerful. Bring it on!”
Beverly lived life out loud and to the fullest for
· 59 years 10 months and 24 days OR
· 718 months and 24 days OR
· 3,125 weeks and 2 days OR
· 21,877 days OR
· 525,048 hours OR
· 31,502,880 minutes OR
· 1,890,172,800 seconds
No matter how it is calculated, she made every second count in loving her family, friends and coworkers.
After having prayer and worship at home and a covering of hugs and kisses, Beverly transitioned from this life into eternity on Saturday, December 31, 2022 at 1:30am. It would be the elegance of Beverly to outshine Pope Benedict XVI’s transition on this day with her graceful exit.
Beverly’s memories will continue from the mouths and hearts of her mother, Mary C. Armour, Fort Wayne, Indiana; her daughters, Jordan (Jaia) Hicks of Country Club Hills, Illinois and Safiya Thomas; Fort Wayne, Indiana; her sons, Jonathan Graves, Julian Graves, Indianapolis, Indiana; her bonus son, Christian T. Thomas, Fort Wayne, Indiana; her maternal grandmother, Ella Maxine Wilder, Fort Wayne, Indiana; her sisters, Charlesethel Armour, Meta (Marvin) Booker, Sheila (Pleas’) Anderson, Marilyn Armour, Trinell Armour; Ivy Armour; all of Fort Wayne, Indiana; her grandchildren, Blaike Hicks, Brooklyn Hicks, and Brendyne Hicks, all of Country Club Hills, Illinois; her spiritual mother/confidante, Marilyn Clark, Fort Wayne, IN; her adopted brother, Gor’Don (Carolyn) Martin, Fort Wayne, Indiana; her goddaughter, Lisa Bean, Dallas Texas; a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and best friends. There are six generations of family love that will continue to share Beverly’s stories.
The individuals are no longer with us but are never forgotten; her son, Jeorge Graves; her father, Earl Charles Armour; her grandparents, Curley Wilder, Sr., Willie Bruce and Elnora (Mills) Armour; her uncles, Willie B. Armour and William Hudson; her aunts, Bobbie Jean Hudson, Arnicia Farr, Birdie Murden, Theobia Cuspard, Barbara Parker, James “Jean” Anner Daniels (Armour); her nephew, Tabryn Le’Royce Armour; and her spiritual father, Bishop Jimmie Clark, Sr.
In lieu of flowers, monetary donations for Beverly’s legacy (children and grandchildren) are appreciated. Make check payable to Sheila Anderson. Giving envelopes will be present at service or mailing is available - Sheila Anderson c/o Beverly Armour-Thomas, PO Box 6524, Fort Wayne, IN 46896