On September 2, 2021, Larry Austin Thomas left this physical world and into the arms of his beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Larry was born July 15, 1949, to the late Austin and Victoria Dubose Thomas. He grew up in Temperanceville, VA but enjoyed his childhood summers in Florence, SC, spending time with his maternal grandmother, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Once in his teens, he traded his summers in South Carolina for time spent at the racetrack with his father, training and caring for his father’s horses. Throughout his life, Larry gained the reputation of a “people person.” He loved sports and working with his father’s horse racing business.
Larry graduated from Atlantic High School in 1967. He attended Barton College, graduating in 1971 with a BS degree in Health and Physical Education and a minor in English, and in 1984, received his master’s degree in Educational Administration from Salisbury State University. He began his legendary career as an educator and coach at Parksley High School in 1971, teaching Health and Physical Education and coaching boys baseball and basketball. Larry transferred to Atlantic High School in 1974 as the Health and Physical Education teacher and coached football, boys basketball, and track and field. During these years his teams excelled in both district and regional championships. In 1980, with the consolidation of Parksley and Atlantic High Schools, his team won the group A regional boys’ basketball championship, ultimately being defeated in the semifinals in the State Championship playoffs. His track and field teams won the district titles 14 straight years including multiple regional championships.
Larry retired from the classroom and coaching in 1985 and served as assistant principal at Mary N. Smith Middle School and Atlantic High School. In 1989 he was named principal of Nandua High School, serving with distinction in that position for 16 years retiring in 2005. Larry is remembered by all who knew him for his love and commitment to his students. Moreover, his leadership instilled pride and character in his students.
Larry was very active in Market Street UMC serving as the lay leader for several years as well as teaching Sunday School.
Larry leaves behind his wife of 17 years, Laura Courtney Thomas; daughter, Tara Marie Thomas of Temperanceville VA; sons, Jacob Lee Courtney Thomas and Tyler Austin Thomas, both of Onley, VA; brother, Michael D. Thomas (Carol) of Milford, DE; nephews, Brandon Thomas (Angela) and Colin Thomas (Dana); and mother-in-law, Linda Courtney.
A service in celebration of Larry’s life and legacy will be held at Nandua High School’s football field on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. Masks will be required for all who attend. Interment will be private at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.
To honor his passion for both sports and animals, the family requests contributions in memory of Mr. Thomas be made to any local school athletic program or to the Eastern Shore S.P.C.A., P.O. Box 164, Onley, VA 23418 (www.shorespca.com).
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.
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Eastern Shore S.P.C.A.
P.O. Box 164, Onley VA 23418