Age 49, Alisa Roberta Thomas, a beloved child of God, returned home to her father on
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at her residence in Grand Rapids,Michigan surrounded by her
family, after a courageous battle with Cancer.
Alisa was born on Tuesday, December 7, 1971, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Mr. and Mrs.
Frank and Wanda (Brent) Thomas. She was their first child, and only daughter. She accepted
Christ as a child, and was an active member of First Community African Methodist Episcopal
Church in Grand Rapids.
Educated locally, Alisa attended Huff Elementary, graduating from City High School in Grand
Rapids, in 1990. Her pursuit of her undergraduate education would bring her to “The Big Easy”
attending Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. During her time at Xavier, Alisa
established herself as an exceptional scholar and campus leader. Her original plans were to
become a lawyer, but after a change in course, she found her true calling in Education.
Her time at Xavier was not all work and no play however. She was a member of the school’s
trivia team, traveling to Los Angeles to compete against other Historically Black Colleges in trivia
bowl tournaments. It was also during her time at Xavier that she saw the light, and followed in
her mother’s footsteps becoming a sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., joining Epsilon Tau
chapter in the fall of 1993. Alisa’s involvement with Alpha Kappa Alpha would be a lifelong
undertaking that would impact her service to the world.
Upon graduating from Xavier University in 1995, she moved to St. Paul, Minnesota to begin her
lifelong endeavor in education. The first school she taught at was Benjamin E. Mayes
Elementary. While in St.Paul, Alisa would continue her active involvement in Alpha Kappa
Alpha, becoming a member of Delta Phi Omega Chapter, along with other community
Life would bring her back to Grand Rapids, where she would do the lion’s share of her work to
improve our community. Upon returning home, Alisa had difficulty finding a permanent
placement with the Grand Rapids Public School system, however her love for children fueled
her determination, and she stayed the course. Her persistence paid off landing a position at
Martin Luther King Elementary in 2005. On March 26, 2005, the Black Women’s Roundtable
awarded Alisa their “Women of Distinction Award” for her determination. Alisa would continue
her work with the Grand Rapids Public School System, up until her death, with Aberdeen
Elementary being her final assignment.
Her commitment to children did not end when the school bell rang. Alisa’s community
involvement in Grand Rapids focused on helping young people become leaders in our society.
While at Martin Luther King Elementary, she established programs for students helping them
learn life skills. She developed an etiquette program for young men, partnering with male
leaders in the community as mentors. She developed the Princess Program, which allowed for
young women to learn how to carry themselves with poise, and grace. The culmination of the
young ladies' hard work was celebrated by a formal mother daughter banquet.
Alisa would continue to nurture young women of distinction through her involvement with Theta
Chi Omega Chapter of the Sorority. Alisa’s involvement with Theta Chi Omega was intensive.
She served as the Basilus (President of the chapter) from 2004-2006, Hodegus, and chair of the
following committees: Miss Fashionetta Debutante Scholarship Ball, Founder’s Day, and the
50th Anniversary Programming. She was also a Board member of 15 Pearls and a Promise,
the 501c3 organization of the chapter that helped with scholarships and grants.
What served as the foundation for all of the amazing works that Alisa did was her faith. Alisa
was the true definition of what a follower of Christ should be like. Never judgmental, she would
listen, help, and pray with those who needed her. Even as she battled her illness head on, she
leaned on the Lord for strength. She was very active in the African Methodist Episcopal church,
serving as a member of the Y.P.D, Children's/Youth Choir, Sunday School Teacher, Women’s
Missionary Society, Vacation Bible School, and the Nursery.
Left to cherish her memory are, her parents Frank and Wanda Thomas, brother Ty Allen (Kelly)
Thomas, nieces Ciera and Desire Thomas, nephews, Justice and Zavion Thomas, uncles John
(Arentte) Brent, Lester Thomas, Raph Thomas, aunt Mildred Thomas, her beloved dog Scrappy
Thomas. Alisa’s memory will be kept alive by a host of cousins, Sorority Sisters, friends,
colleagues, and former students.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents; Rosco and Willie Mae Thomas, John C. and
Roberta Brent, aunts, Mary Thomas, Helen Pruitt, JoAnn Brown, uncles James Thomas and
Walter Thomas, Robert Brent. And many Ivy’s who went before her beyond the wall.
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