Skip to header Skip to Content Skip to Footer

UNCW Mourns the Loss of Former Trustee Linda Pearce Thomas

Linda Pearce Thomas
Linda Pearce Thomas

Linda Pearce Thomas, the first African American woman to serve as chair of the UNCW Board of Trustees, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. She was a trustee from 2005 through 2013 and was elected as chair in 2012.  

Pearce Thomas was a long-time supporter of diversity scholarships and programs as well as Seahawk athletics. She was instrumental in establishing the UNCW Board of Trustees Merit Scholarship to attract high-ability students to the university and an active supporter of the Williston Alumni Scholarship. She was also an advocate of the Upperman African American Cultural Center. 

“Linda Pearce Thomas made history at UNCW, standing out for her pragmatic leadership, meaningful community connections, and firm focus on making the university a more inclusive and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff from different backgrounds and diverse perspectives,” said Chancellor Aswani K. Volety. “The Seahawk community values her legacy on our campus and in our community. Her family and friends have our deepest sympathy on the loss of Linda Pearce Thomas.” 

Pearce Thomas founded Elderhaus, an adult day care facility in Wilmington, and served as the executive director for 32 years. In 2016, the City of Wilmington’s Commission on African American History recognized Pearce Thomas as a “Living Legend” for her outstanding leadership, professional contributions and accomplishments in improving the community for all.    

Her contributions and service to the community are extensive. She served as chair of the MedNorth Board of Directors, a member of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Investigative Review Board, the Davis Community Board of Directors, the Wilmington Rotary and the Mount Olive AME Church Trustee Board. She was a former member of the NHRMC Board of Trustees, WECT Advisory Committee, NHRMC Ethics Committee, Community Boys’ and Girls’ Club Board of Directors and WAVE Board of Directors. She was also a life member of the NAACP.

A public viewing is scheduled Friday, Sept. 29, from 5-8 p.m. at Davis Funeral Home, 901 S. 5th Ave., Wilmington, NC. A celebration of life will be conducted on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m. at Mt. Olive AME Church, 1001 S. Seventh St., Wilmington, NC. 

More information about Pearce Thomas’ life and ways to honor her memory may be found in her obituary.