Anne Thomas (Walker)

Thomas—Anne Thomas (Walker), 76, on September 4, 2020, at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Anne was born on January 20,1944, the only child of Jack and Alice Walker, in Yeadon, UK. Anne attended the local school, where she was an excellent student and active in school sports. In her final year of school she was Head Girl. As a teenager, she attended the local Congregational Church. 

Following graduation from a teacher training college in Kirkby, Lancashire, Anne taught science and math in the Liverpool area, where she met Barry Thomas, who was completing his PhD in pharmacology at Liverpool University. They were married in 1966 and lived in Rainhill, UK, where their daughter, Helen, was born in 1968. In 1969 the family emigrated to Ottawa, Canada, when Barry was hired by the Department of National Health and Welfare. Their son, Simon, was born in Ottawa in 1970.

Anne attended Ottawa (Ontario) Meeting soon after arriving in Canada. She taught First-day school and at various times served as treasurer and as clerk. For many years Anne represented Ottawa Friends on the Christian Council of the Capital Area.

Anne studied theology at Carleton University in Ottawa. She led Bible study sessions at Canadian Yearly Meeting for many years and was invited to lead Bible study at numerous Quaker venues. She served on various committees of Canadian Yearly Meeting, and represented Canadian Yearly Meeting on the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy and the Correctional Service of Canada, which led her to join a group of women leading Sunday evening services at Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. For many years Anne was a member of the Faith and Witness Commission and the General Board of the Canadian Council of Churches, eventually serving two terms as vice president. She served as general secretary/treasurer of Canadian Yearly Meeting from 1989 to 1998. Shortly thereafter, Anne was approached by New Castle (Ind.) Meeting, who needed an interim pastor. Her five months’ service in New Castle broadened and deepened her commitment to Quakerism.

Anne served on the Commissions and General Board of Friends United Meeting (FUM). Her connection with FUM continued for almost 30 years, concluding with service as assistant clerk. She wrote a monthly Bible study column for FUM’s periodical, Quaker Life. She offered Bible study at conferences of the United Society of Friends Women International, and was named as a member of the Eliza Armstrong Cox Fellowship.

Anne presented the Swarthmore Lecture to Britain Yearly Meeting in 1995. Her topic was “A Quaker Biblical View of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.” A book was published in conjunction with the lecture, Only Fellow Voyagers: Creation Stories as Guides for the Journey, in which Anne explored the universal need for creation stories. Anne taught at Woodbrooke, which sponsors the Swarthmore Lecture, in Birmingham, UK, for a term.

When Barry retired in 2000, Anne and Barry moved to Tangier, Nova Scotia, and joined Halifax (Nova Scotia) Meeting. After some time, they joined Eastern Shore Worship Group, which had a more conservative/Christian flavor. Around 2013, Eastern Shore Worship Group joined New Brunswick Meeting and formed the Eastern Shore Allowed Meeting under New Brunswick Meeting.

Anne and Barry lived in Tangier for 17 years. When Anne’s health deteriorated they moved to Parkland on the Lakes, a retirement community in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Anne was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Alice Walker. She is survived by Barry H. Thomas, her spouse of 54 years; children Helen Zebedee (William) and Simon Thomas (Karina); and two grandchildren.

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