Obituary of Dr. Gloria Paulette Thomas
Gloria (GiGi) Paulette Thomas nee Robinson of Franklin Park, NJ departed her earthly body on November 23, 2019. The daughter of the late Theodore Noel and Mary Leila Grimsley Robinson, she was born in Mountainside, NJ on March 2. Gloria was the first African American licensed psychologist in the state of New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University and taught in the New Brunswick School District. She went on to become a guidance counselor and a school psychologist. In 1978, Gloria opened a private practice which remained open until her passing.
A lifelong learner, Gloria obtained five master’s degrees in education, guidance counseling, marriage and family counseling, clinical psychology, and child psychology. She was conferred two doctoral degrees in education and psychology. While working full time as a school psychologist and maintaining her thriving private practice, Gloria also found time to serve as a member of a dissertation review board.
Gloria was a longstanding member of the First Baptist Church of Anderson, founded by her grandfather, the late Rev. Charles H. Broadnax. She had a special place in her heart for this beloved family church. She was also a member of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens for over fifty years and frequently attended Liquid Church in Sayreville, NJ for the past two years.
Gloria was a truly phenomenal woman with a genuine love for the arts, travel, community service, fashion, jewelry, shopping and cultural artifacts. Her journeys took her to places across the globe such as Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Ghana, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Portugal, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands to name a few. In 1995, she had the distinct privilege and honor to travel to China as a U.S. delegate for the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (a global conference on women’s rights).
She was preceded in death by her husband Richard R. Thomas (2016) and is survived by her son Richard R. Thomas II, Esq. of Franklin Park, NJ, her daughter Suyin Sydney Lael and her wife, Sarah Lael of Dayton, NJ and grandchildren, Zenzali, Tenaj and Danica Lael. Gloria leaves a host of family members and friends to mourn including sisters-in-law Connie Robinson and Shirley Baker, brothers-in-law Sonny Pinkman and Glenn Thomas; loving nieces and nephews, Shaar Johnston, Alan Hayes (Cris), Lauren Renee Hayes (Joseph Hicks), Catherine Hayes and her daughter Rev. Erin Hayes Cook (Lawrence and Arden), Rev. Daryl Robinson (Connie), Theodore Robinson Jr., Xochil German and daughters Hester and Cesare German, Beth Abrams, Jarrod Baker, Farrah Samuels; dear friends Vonne McCurtis and Winnie; her cherished dogs, Skyler, Tucker and Soraya and many others. In addition to her husband, Gloria was preceded in death by her sisters Mary Leola Hayes (2017), Dr. Gwendolyn Roquemore (2015), and Eunestine Pinkman (1979), her brother Theodore Robinson (1979), and nephew Bruce Hayes (2018).
Relatives and friends may gather with the family on Thursday December 5, at the First Baptist Church-Anderson, 150 Jackson Street, Port Murray NJ 07865 from 10:30 am until the service begins at 11:30 am. GiGi will be laid to rest folowing the service at the Washington Cemetery, Cemetery Hill Road Washington NJ. Arrangements are under the care of the Knoll-DeVoe Funeral Home & Cremation Service 142 West Washington Ave, Washington NJ 07882.