As has been our tradition with DavidsonNews.net, Around Davidson provides our readers with a Christmas interview. Each year we choose someone in our area who has lived here for a long time and is willing to share Christmas memories of years ago.
This year we visited with Billie Wilma Thomason of The Pines. Born in North Carolina, she traveled the country as a child and then lived her married life in Kannapolis. In 1997, she moved to The Pines at Davidson, where she recently celebrated her 100th birthday! It is with great pleasure that we introduce Billie and her family to you today.
Born at home in Caroleen, N.C., on Dec. 3, 1911, Billie Wilma Hudspeth was the oldest of five children of Pearl and Tom Hudspeth. Because her father was in the construction business with a brother-in-law, the family moved often and each of her younger two sisters and two brothers was born in a different state. Following high school and a degree from Wingate Junior College, Billie met a dashing young man at a swimming pool near Salisbury in the summer of 1932. Much to her parents’ dismay, she ran off to South Carolina on Nov. 5 of that same year and married the love of her life, Max Deberry Thomason.
While Max finished his engineering degree at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Billie continued her education and also graduated from NCSU with a BS degree. The young couple settled in Kannapolis where Max was employed by Cannon Mills as an engineer for “all things mechanical,” according to Billie. Two daughters were born, Billie Max and Kay, before Max was called to active duty, first stationed in Iceland and then in Europe. Another daughter, Sallie, and a son, Max, were born following the war.
The family enjoyed a wonderful life in Kannapolis with close ties to Kannapolis First Presbyterian Church and vacation time to travel with favorite trips to Europe and Southeast Asia. Max retired from Cannon Mills in 1980 and following his death in 1992, Billie began to think about a retirement community. Asked how she settled on The Pines, she remarked without hesitation, “I chose it myself!”
Her daughters now live in Myrtle Beach, Atlanta and Chesapeake Bay with her son, Max, closer by in Charlotte. Billie proudly tells of her 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Most all were here for her 100th birthday celebration which started with an afternoon reception for all residents of The Pines followed by a private dinner at the retirement community for almost 70 close family and friends.
What a tribute to a marvelous lady who never smoked or drank, enjoys daily swimming in The Pines’ pool, likes to read and continues to enjoy Sunday worship – although mostly now on TV. Our very best belated birthday greetings to you, Billie Thomason, and Merry Christmas!
Music credit: “Silent Night” by Sharon, from “Snowflakes.”