Thomas Adair

Obituary of Thomas Adair



In 1996, Linda Ellis wrote a poem titled The Dash.  The concept of the poem is that the little line in between birth and death represents the legacy in which each of us create as we go about our daily lives.  Today, as a date is entered behind the dash, we pay tribute to the legacy of a truly dedicated servant of God who served more than four decades of service as a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church – Rev. Dr. Thomas William Adair.

Thomas William Adair (affectionately known as “Brother” or “TW”), 88, of Stephens, Arkansas, passed away on January 24, 2024, after a brief stay at Wentworth Rehabilitation Center. Thomas was born on June 8, 1936, to Rev. Irvin and Christene Adair in Stephens, Arkansas, where he graduated from CarverHigh School.  He was married to Ruby Cross, and to this union three children were born.

Armed with his favorite scripture: Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and his favorite hymn:  Precious Lord Take My Hand, Thomas began this journey, April 5, 1970, under the pastoral leadership of the late Rev. W. E. Scott and the late Presiding Elder R. L. Lily.  He was later ordained Deacon by Bishop Decatur Nichols, and ordained Elder by Bishop Samuel Solomon Morris.  Thomasreceived his first appointment to Early View AME Church, Stephens, Arkansas which he held for six (6) months.  He was then transferred to the Waldo Circuit where he served Bethel AME Church, Waldo, AR, and the Mount Pleasant AME Church, Magnolia, Arkansas for 6 ½ yrs.  After his appointment to the Waldo Circuit, Elder Adair held the following appointments:  Saint Phillips AME Church, Magnolia, AR for 4 yrs; Bethel AME Church, Gordon, AR for 2 yrs; and Bethel AME Church, Hope, AR for 12 yrs. 

Thomas briefly attended AM&N, Pine Buff, Arkansas; but, later decided to pursue his education at the Jacksonville Theological Seminary - earning a Bachelor of Science in Ecclesiastic Studies on October 18, 1974; a Master of Arts degree in Ecclesiastes Studies in 1979; and concluded his education on May 9, 1987, by earning a Doctor of Divinity.

During this time, Thomas not only served as a dynamic minister, leader, and student; he also successfully balanced the responsibilities of being a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, mentor, and confidant.  With that being noted, Luke 12:48 tells us, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” In 1996, Thomas was entrusted with even more responsibilities when Bishop Fredrick Talbot appointed him Presiding Elder of the Magnolia District, West Arkansas Conference, 12th Episcopal District – an appointment he held with valor and honor for 14 years.  After 40 years of impeccable and unprecedented service, Thomas retired duringthe Annual Conference of 2010.  

Elder Adair has been highly sought out to run an immeasurable number of revivals, baptisms, weddings, and funerals.   He has served as a stalwart advocate, mentor, and guide for many younger ministers, men, women, and children – some have lived in his home, others called or visited on a regular basis.  Elder Adair served with integrity and excellence!

He leaves to cherish his memories:  a son, Gregory Adair; a daughter, Sharon Adair-Harden; 6 grandchildren: Stephen(Samantha) Kemp, Marcia (Jaspierre) Smith, Cerosha Harden, Idaeris Adair, ShaRonda (DeVaughn) Coleman, Ciara Adair; 11 great grandchildren; 6 sisters: Betty (James) Banner, Myrtle Cross, Shirley (Roy) Wiggs, Mary (David) Raimey, Barbara Johnson-Adair, Doris (Sam) Bryant; a host of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Cerosha Adair; Parents, Irvin and Christene Adair; and 2 sisters, Earvie Jean Boyd and Sarah Kemp.

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