“There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. You’ve got to go through the ups and downs, but there is definitely a plan,” Ann was known to say.
Born Beatrice Ann Prince July 9, 1938, in Akron, OH. She was daughter to Laura Prince Augerbright, Wheeling resident, and Horace Singletary, both North Carolina natives. Ann was raised in Wheeling after birth and remained a Wheeling resident until her death, early Friday morning, February 22, 2019 at Wheeling Hospital, after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Ann was also a 35+ year breast cancer survivor prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Clyde A. Thomas in 2006, and her eldest son Shawn Elliott Thomas in 2018. She’s survived by her son Scott Allyn Thomas of Rockville, MD, and twin grandchildren Ajah and Elijah Thomas; her granddaughter Carrie Ann Thomas and great-grandson Weston; brother Wade Augerbright, Jr., and in-laws beloved to Ann.
Ann realized during early childhood she was treated differently due to the color of her skin in Jim Crow West Virginia, where ‘separate but equal’ was the standard, but declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court by the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, she said for The Wheeling Memory Project. She had attended segregated Lincoln School and was in the first integrated class to graduate Wheeling High School in 1956. After graduating Wheeling High, Ann decided on nursing as a profession. She was the first African-American to graduate Ohio Valley General Hospital’s School of Nursing. As a nurse, she worked 12 years at OV and 30 years for Ohio County Schools, retiring in 2001. She married her high school sweetheart, college and professional football-star husband in 1960. He was the first African-American elected to Wheeling City Council, serving four terms including vice-mayor.
Ann was a member of Christ United Methodist Church, and served on boards of Wheeling YMCA, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Wheeling Health Right, BB&T Bank, Laughlin Chapel, Housing Connection, Regional Economic Development Authority, WV Regional Health Science and Technology Academy, and West Liberty University. In addition, she served on WV Women’s Commission, was a member of Wheeling Lions Club, and a member of the local chapter of the NAACP.
Funeral services are arranged by Kepner Funeral Homes, www.kepnerfuneral.com. A 1 p.m. funeral service is scheduled at Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC), 1232 National Rd, Wheeling, WV 26003, Saturday, March 2, 2019; bereavement luncheon (repass) to immediately follow at CUMC. Doors to open at 11 a.m. for Ann’s memoriam (tribute). In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to Christ United Methodist Church.