ELOISE THOMAS was a woman of many talents, but in any list of her accomplishments, you would have to rank her lemon cake among the best.
"No family celebration was complete without it," her family said. "It has yet to be duplicated."
It wasn't only in the kitchen that Eloise excelled. Hanging wallpaper, making lampshades and upholstering furniture were just a few of the household projects she enjoyed.
Eloise, a retired seamstress, devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and active churchwoman, died Thursday. She was 78 and lived in North Philadelphia.
She was born in Philadelphia, one of the 10 children of Robert and Amelia Blunt. She attended William Penn High School.
She and her sister, Margaret, were employed by the former Progressive Knitting Mill and later worked with her sister-in-law, Lillian Harris, at the former Alpha Schwartz mills as a seamstress.
In the late '80s, she was employed as a housekeeper for a local doctor.
She married Leo Thomas in June 1952. He died in 2005.
Eloise amazed her family that she could so efficiently take care of her home and family while holding down full-time jobs.
"I don't know anyone who can come home from work, cook up a dinner and get it on the table as fast as Mrs. Thomas," said a daughter-in-law.
To which Eloise would reply, "Nothing fancy, just a little something to take the pain out of the stomach."
There weren't many pains in the stomachs of Eloise's family and friends.
When the grandkids came along, Eloise found new pleasure. "Each visit with them gave her great joy," the family said.
It was during the '80s that she became an active member of Beulah Tabernacle Pentecostal Church, under the leadership of the late Rev. Calvin J. Thomas. She served as a missionary and usher and sang in the Gospel Chorus.
She is survived by two daughters, Bette Davis and Lillian; four sons, Benjamin, Robert, George and Lonnie; two sisters, Margaret Bolds and Amelia A. Blunt; 20 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.