Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Gaylia Rita Harper Thomas, age 70

Gaylia Rita Harper Thomas, 70, of Conway was surrounded by loved ones as she passed from this world into her heavenly home on November 22, 2023.  She was born to the late John Harper and Elvie McBurnett Harper on August 8th, 1953.

Gaylia Rita was reared in Redfield and attended Redfield/White Hall Schools. She was married to the love of her life, Gerald Thomas for 42 years, and together they raised 7 children in the Conway area. She was manager of the Western Sizzlin restaurant in Conway for over 20 years. She was well suited to the restaurant business. Under her direction the Conway Western Sizzlin was designated the best in the region and in the state.  Gaylia Rita possessed a servant’s heart and quietly went about helping all those she could.

Gaylia Rita is preceded by her husband, her daughter Onita Dean “Deany” Thomas Cowgill, sons Eddie Thomas and Wesley Thomas, sisters Sarah Wilkins, and Pamela Harper, brothers Butch Harper, Frank Harper, Ward Harper, Marvin Harper and Hal Harper.

She is survived by a brother William Harper and a sister Helen Moseley. She is also survived by her sons, Jeffery Thomas, Jerry Thomas, Jimmy Thomas, and daughter Cathy Henderson, many beloved grandchildren, and son-in-law David Cowgill who helped care for her.  She is also survived by an abundance of family friends, nieces and nephew and a special friend Horace “Pops” Curry.

A memorial service will be held in her childhood home of Redfield at the American Legion building on Saturday, February 3rd. There will be a visitation beginning at 11:00 a.m. with a service to follow.

Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas 72076. 501-982-3400. Online guestbook available at

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A Natural State Funeral Service & Crematory