Harding L Thomas

March 10, 1921April 27, 2019

Harding Lester Thomas, age 98, husband of Edith Aylor Thomas of The Culpeper, passed away on April 27, 2019.

Harding was born at Endicott, Franklin County. He grew up near Martinsville, graduated from the University of Richmond and the VCU dental school, and served with the Army during World War II (Sergeant). He met his first wife, Edna Earle Reynolds, when stationed in Arkansas and they settled in Culpeper in 1950. They were happily married from 1946 until her death in 2007. In 2013 Dr. Thomas married Edith Aylor Thomas, and last May they celebrated their 5th anniversary. They spent many hours laughing and playing cards together.

Dr. Thomas was an active and kind person, always smiling, and was compared to the “energizer bunny” by family members trying to keep up with him. He frequently rode his bicycle to work and kept riding until age 91. He was fearless and adventurous -- flying airplanes, white-water canoeing, water and downhill skiing, killer croquet and ping-pong player, and any other activity that struck his fancy. In their 70s, he and Edna took up square dancing for fun. They traveled across the US including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, Europe, South America, and to China.

Until recently, Dr. Thomas attended the Culpeper United Methodist Church and was on the building committees of the CUMC in 1956 and in 1997. He was a charter member of the Culpeper Country Club, where he loved playing golf, and helped raise money to build the Culpeper Hospital and the Culpeper Town and County Library. He volunteered with many civic organizations, including the Lions, the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts local chapter. In addition to maintaining his dental practice, as a side gig he built houses (12 in all), opened the Piedmont Small Loan Company on Davis Street, and into his 90s grew huge quantities of fruits and vegetables that he freely shared with friends.

Dr. Thomas was predeceased by his first wife, Edna; his parents, Nannie Bell Bowling Thomas and Jonah Tuggle Thomas; his brothers Brown Thomas and Dalton Thomas; and sisters Marga Miles, Buena Avis Thomas, Verna Shropshire, Mildred Dorton, and Shirlie Brammer. He is survived by his wife, Edith Aylor Thomas; his children, Jonah Earl Thomas (Jennifer) of Fairfax, Phoebe Anne Sorgen of Berkeley, California, and Sarah Mayhew (William) of Fairfax; his stepchildren George Aylor of Little Washington and Janet Holden of Culpeper, his four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. at The Culpeper, New Building, New Chapel, Culpeper, Virginia; with fellowship to follow. Interment at Culpeper National Cemetery will be private. Rev. Hazel Eakin will conduct the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions should be made to The Virginia Baptist Home Foundation, 3961 Stillman Parkway, Glen Allen, VA 23060 to help Culpeper senior residents in need. (

Fond memories and condolences may be shared of Dr. Thomas with the family through The Thomas family has entrusted Clore-English Funeral Home with these arrangements.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, May 4, 2019
  • Private Interment Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Harding L Thomas

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