During the mid-1900s times were thought to be much simpler compared to today’s standards. These times were referred to as the “Good Ole Days,’ when a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk cost a few cents compared to a couple of dollars. There was also the notion that if you worked hard, and applied some good old fashion elbow grease to your efforts, then upon completion of your task, you would be granted the right to say, “I Earned It.” Additionally, those were times in which “America The Beautiful” would parade a blemished face for years to come. This would be the beginning in a series of chain reactions, socially as well as economically, that would alter the course of our, “America The Beautiful.” It was during this period that the blueprint for my birth would be created. That blueprint would be our mother, Annie Faye Robinson-Thomas.
Annie was born to the loving parents of Geneva and Eddie Robinson, on a spring day, on May 16, 1940 in the tobacco cotton lands, the cornfields and cabbage patches of Whittakers, North Carolina in Nash County. Annie inherited two brothers and six sisters. Sometimes during Annie’s childhood, her grandmother Jenny Dickens-Broddie briefly took on the responsibility of raising her and her cousin Alma. After seeking a better future and better opportunities for their daughter, her parents Geneva and Eddie Robinson decided that Annie Faye would be better served if she were to live with her Uncle Lonnie Broddie and his wife Mary Esther Broddie.
Annie Faye Robinson moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the age of fifteen years of age. During this time the Broddie family lived on the Northside of the City of Pittsburgh. Annie was enrolled in Oliver High School in which she attended the 10th and 11th Grades. Although she didn’t officially graduate from Oliver, when on to obtain her GED and then enrolled into Nursing School. At the age of twenty-one, while attending nursing school, Annie met a young man by the name of Silco Renaldo Thomas. Annie and Silco literally met each other on the dance floor while attending a party on the Northside.
Fast forwarding, Annie and Silco married in 1959 in which the actual wedding took place at the Broddie’s home in a church like ceremony. Close family and friends were in attendance for their wedding. The Reverend J. B. Williams delivered the couple's vows, and together they acknowledged their love of each other in the presence of the All Mighty God.
Annie continued attending church and served as a Sunday School Teacher. Meanwhile, Silco worked various jobs until becoming the 2nd African American Police Officer for the McKees Rocks Police Department. Silco and Annie took up residency in McKees Rocks where he would be stationed. McKees Rocks is a small community located on the outskirts of the City of Pittsburgh.
Soon after, Annie gave birth to her first child, a bouncing baby boy whom they together named Silko Renaldo Thomas, born on Flag Day, June 14, 1961, two days before his dad’s birthday of June 16. Little Silko was delivered at Allegheny General Hospital. Annie created her own code-naming code for the two men in her life. Silco her husband was referred to as “Big Sil” and Baby Silko was referred to as “Lil Sil.”
The threesome spent five years together until they were joined by a new addition, a newcomer would be nickname by her Dad, and called “Toni.” Antionette “Toni” Thomas was born on a fall day, September 22, 1965, at Allegheny General Hospital. Antionette was a cute baby girl, with a round face, curious eyes and a Yule Brenner baldhead. She became daddy’s little almost immediately.
Five years later, their youngest daughter nickname May May by her Great Uncle Lonnie Broddie. Mary Elizabeth Thomas was born on a hot day during the late summer on August 14, 1970 and she broke with tradition and was delivered at Magee Women’s Hospital located in Oakland down the street from Pitt University. Mary’s first name was derived from the Aunt that helped to raise Annie. Mary was name after her Great Aunt Mary Esther Broddie. Mary’s middle name was also given to her to honor Silco’s sister Elizabeth “Lizzy” Thomas.
Annie’s marriage to Silco lasted approximately fifteen years before they both filed for divorce due to irreconcilable differences. Near the end of their marriage Annie became ill, and during this traumatic period she realized that for the sake of her children and their future, she had to make an extremely important and life altering decision regarding their upbringing. It all came down to one issue of who she would trust with her three little treasures of joy that had brought so much satisfaction to her life.
For Annie the answer was clear. That person would be the very same person she viewed as her mother and father figures, Aunt Mary Esther Battle-Broddie and Uncle Lonnie Broddie Jr. After feeling comfortable with her decision, she granted the Broddies legal custody and guardianship of her precious gems. Aunt Esther and Uncle Lonnie were now the official guardians of Silko, Antionette and Mary.
Despite Annie’s lengthy illness she continued to love her children, grandchildren, her brothers, sisters, cousins and aunts and uncles. The LORD brought his child Annie Faye Robinson-Thomas home on May 24, 2020. She leaves a legacy of family here to carry on her love, her Children: Silko Renaldo Thomas, Antionette “Toni” Thomas, Mary Elizabeth Thomas-Man, Son-In-Law Doug Man, Grandchildren: Natalia Thomas, Alicia Walker, Rico Alphonso Walker, Geneva Johnson, Lauren Alexis Thomas, Brandon Silko Thomas, Imani Man, Donovan Man, and five Great Grandchildren: (the children of Rico and Alicia Walker), Brother & Sisters: Brother Wilber “Uncle Mickey’ Roberson, Brother Eddie “Uncle Pump” Robinson (Gone To Glory), Lou Gene “Aunt Sweet Shug” Robinson (Gone To Glory), Ernestine “Aunt Teenie” Robinson (Gone to Glory), Effie Robinson-Moore, Barbara Robinson (The Family Rock), Dianna “Aunt Shamie’ Robinson-Bobbit, and her youngest sister Louise “ Aunt Neal” Robinson.
This we dedicate to our loving Mom, Annie Faye Robinson-Thomas who gave us the gift of life and love. We love you and thank God for you.
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