Thoman remembered by loved ones, teachers

Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 23, 2014

SOUTH POINT— It’s not often one cries and smiles at the same time, but that anomaly happened on Saturday when nearly 300 people gathered in the South Point High School gymnasium to pay their respects, say their goodbyes to and celebrate the life of 17-year-old senior Sara Thoman.

“She always signed her name Sara T. with a little heart,” Kent Stewart, South Point history teacher, said. “Sometimes I would take my red marker and fill in the heart.”

Stories like Stewart’s offered a brief reprieve from the grief so many are experiencing after a car crash a week ago claimed the life of Sara and her classmate, Jacob Damron. Sara died this past Monday in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington.

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“One day she dressed up for school,” Stewart recounted. “I told her she looked nice and she said to me, ‘Are you saying I didn’t look nice yesterday?’ I told her that’s not what I meant and she said, ‘Well what do you mean then?’”

Sara at the funeral was described as someone who was always smiling, always had a positive attitude, was always respectful and oftentimes opinionated.

“I questioned the validity of it when I heard the news,” Mike Halcome, Sara’s senior English teacher, said. “I know we all felt a wave of emotions. I, just as many of you, was blown away, angry, upset, delusional then angry again. How? When? Where? All these questions ran through my mind. But I was reminded of a movie about a father who loses a young daughter and he is told he can do one of two things: be angry for the time lost or be joyful for the time you had. Based on our discussions, there is no doubt Sara is in heaven right now.”

Halcome then read aloud Sara’s senior college experience essay she turned in the Wednesday before the crash. She wrote about her phase of rebellion and how she had recently mended relationships with people in her life she had once alienated with her self-described rebellious behavior, one of which was her godmother, who she learned had leukemia while visiting her after a long period of not seeing one another.

Halcome asked everyone to take out their cell phones, turn them on and put them on silent.

“Sara’s essay compels us to do something and make things right,” Halcome said. “I want everyone to scroll through your contacts and look at the names. Do you see anyone in there you need to go to and say, ‘I’m sorry if I offended you?’ Sara knew she waited too long and I’m happy to know her choice for peace came before she was in this accident.”