The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


January 6, 2013

Obituaries — Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013


Kenneth Lee Thomas

MOUNT NEBO — Kenneth Lee Thomas, 63, of Mt. Nebo, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, January 3, 2013, at Summersville Regional Medical Center.

Born October 5, 1949, at Beckley, he was the son of the late George Woodrow Thomas and Nora Christine (Day) Thomas.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beautiful daughter Amanda Yevette Hylton.

He is survived by his loving wife Cynthia Ellen Thomas; two brothers George E. Thomas, and James B. Thomas.

He was a devoted father to Nathaniel Lee Thomas, Amanda Yevette Hylton, Rebekah Joy Donelow, Erin Renee Tompkins and Andrew Seth Thomas.

He was an awesome Paw Paw to Savanna, Kristin, Lindsey, Kara, Caitlyn, Zachary, Ian, Skyler, Brooke, Treyton, Ashton, Riley, Cayden, Bella, and Jaelyn.

He was a great man with a huge heart for the Lord and loved his family so much! He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

A Service of Remembrance will be held 3 p.m. Monday at Mountain View Church of God.

In lieu of flowers donations in his memory may be made to Cynthia Thomas, 4806 Old Nicholas Road, Mt. Nebo, W.Va. 26679.

Condolences may be sent to

Arrangements by High Lawn Funeral Home Chapel, Oak Hill.

Warren A. Thornhill III

Warren A. Thornhill III, a retired lawyer and resident of Greystone, died on January 2, 2013, after a long illness. He was 84 years of age.

Warren graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1946, but before graduating, was the sixth man on Coach Jerome VanMeter’s first state basketball championship team.

In the fall of 1946 he enrolled at Virginia Tech (then called VPI) which he attended for three years. The first two years he was on the junior varsity basketball team. During his third year, he applied for and was admitted to law school at Duke University. While there he served on the editorial board of the first Student Law Review published by Duke Law School. At the end of his first year of law school, he was married in the Duke Chapel to Carolyn Bishop of Scarbro, West Virginia, who was a student at the University of North Carolina.

Before completing the third year and graduating, Warren applied to the United States Air Force for a commission in the JAG Corps and was accepted conditionally upon his passing a state bar exam. He successfully took the North Carolina Bar exam and later that year reported as a First Lieutenant to his assignment at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia. While in the Air Force, he served as trial counsel (prosecutor) in court-martial cases. Also while still in the Air Force, he successfully took the West Virginia Bar exam. At the end of his active duty in the Air Force, he and his wife returned to Beckley and he joined the Air Force Reserve. By the time he left the Reserve, he had been promoted to Captain.

He went into private practice with his father under the firm name of Thornhill and Thornhill. Later David T. Kennedy joined the firm and it became Thornhill, Thornhill & Kennedy. After the senior Mr. Thornhill died, James F. Vaughan, Jr., joined the firm and it became Thornhill, Kennedy & Vaughan and remained such until Warren withdrew to practice as a sole practitioner.

In the late 1960s or early 1970s he became city attorney for the City of Beckley during the A. K. Minter administration, and while serving as such, he supervised the first codification of ordinances in the City of Beckley.

He tried civil and criminal cases in Raleigh County and civil cases in four other counties, and argued many cases before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. He also tried cases in Federal Court, civil and criminal, in Beckley and Bluefield, and handled appeals to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

During his practice of law, he together with his father was a charter member of the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. He also served on the Committee on Legal Ethics of the State Bar.

In activities of a civic nature, Warren served as president of the United Fund, and president of the local YMCA. He also conducted a successful campaign in 1976 and 1977 to raise money to build a new Y, construction of it being completed in 1979. Warren was one of ten founders of the Beckley Area Foundation, but always insisted that the one person really responsible for the idea of creating this organization was his friend, Jim Word. He served as one of the early presidents of the Beckley Area Foundation and furnished legal services for it until his retirement.

 Both before and after his retirement in December, 2005, he served on the Carter Family Foundation five-person board which studied applications to the foundation for funds. For example, the foundation has made substantial grants to such nonprofits and entities as the Beckley Art Center, and the Raleigh County Armory and Convention Center.

Warren was active in banking, having served as chairman of the board of Raleigh County Bank for over twenty years. When the bank was bought by United Bank of Parkersburg, he became a member of the board of that bank and a member of its executive committee, serving as such until he retired and became a director emeritus.

Warren and his family were members of the Beckley Presbyterian Church and he served as elder and taught Sunday School in various classes in the church.

He is survived by his widow, Carolyn Bishop Thornhill, his daughter, Katherine Thornhill, a resident of California where she is a member of the California State Bar, daughter Lynn Thornhill Haremski, a resident of Georgia who is a family therapist (and married to Mike), and a son, James A. Thornhill (married to Joan), an environmental lawyer with the law firm of McGuire, Woods in Richmond, Virginia, and by twin granddaughters, Abbey and Sarah Thornhill.

Funeral services will be Monday, January 7, 2013, at 12 noon at the Beckley Presbyterian Church, 203 South Kanawha Street. Visitation will be Sunday, January 6, 2013, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Beckley Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow the service on Monday at Sunset Memorial Park.

Pallbearers are Jerry Bays, Bob Bolen, Austin Caperton, Mike Cavendish, Doug Ernest, John Keyser, Pete Torrico, Jay Word.

Honorary Pallbearers are Dewey Bone, Don Browning, John Daniel, Lou Fox, Bob Gardner, Don Hodson, Wilmont Jones, Chuck Lucas, Bob McLean, Ron Shrewsbury, Jim Vaughan, Bill Haslam and Hugh Caperton.  

For those who wish to make donations in memory of Warren, the same can be made to Beckley Area Foundation, Beckley Presbyterian Church, or some other charity of the donor’s choice.

Arrangements are being handled by Melton Mortuary. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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