Sarah Louise Starks was born on September 4, 1938, and passed away peacefully at her home in Columbia, S.C., on July 19, 2020. She was born to Blondell Stephenson and Eugene Thomas, in Columbia, S.C. She is predeceased in death by one daughter, Acquenetta Starks, and is the mother of three surviving sons, Leo Thomas, Anthony Starks, and Samuel Starks.
Sarah’s life was defined by her work ethic and relationships with friends and family. She was loved and respected by many. She lived until the age of 81 and worked tirelessly until age 79.
She had close relationships with many extended family members, including Darlynn Thomas and Sabine Starks, her daughters-in-law, Milton “Pete” Peterson, Glennah and Christopher Hart, Richard and Bernice Smith, her sisters Mary Lee Ellis, Dorothy Williams, and Mary Stephenson, and two brothers, Wilbert Thomas and Bobby Shedrick.
She had many special friendships that were an important part of her life, including long-time friendships with Jackie Brown, Bernice Lyles, Geraldine Bedenbaugh and Harvey Jackson. She was also loved and respected like a godmother by Tina Weston, Vinette Malahoo, and Schondra Christian.
Sarah worked several jobs over the course of her life but was most proud of the 30 years she worked at the home of Frank and Helen Ellerbe, where she had an important role in raising the Ellerbe children, William, Caroline and Frances. Sarah was considered part of the Ellerbe family, whose children affectionately nicknamed her “Rayah.”
Sarah enjoyed gardening and working in the yard, cooking and baking, shopping and tending to her home and talking on the phone to family and friends. She was an excellent cook and was especially known for her turkey wings, pound cake, sweet potato pie, and sweet iced tea. She was a long-time member of Fellowship Baptist Church, where she was active in the Woman’s Group, Pastor’s Aide Club, and served on the Hospitality Committee.
In addition to her three sons, three sisters, two brothers, and a host of friends and extended family, Sarah is survived by her four granddaughters, Shanta, Mechelle, Andran, Leah Sarai and one grandson Anthony Emmanuel and one great “grandbaby” Rhiannan, along with many nieces and nephews.
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