She was born Thelma Raney, to George Raney and Pearl Harmon, in Lafayette, Louisiana on February 5, 1931. On Tuesday, June 4 of 2019, at the age of 88 years, she fell asleep in death, to wake again in the resurrection of Jehovah’s promise.
Thelma was born in the 2nd year of the Great Depression. Lafayette would be her home until the age of five, when she and her sister Gloria moved with their mother Pearl and stepfather to Hitchcock, Texas. Moving away from Louisiana proved to be a challenge for Thelma since she had to leave behind her beloved grandmother Alice. Learning was important, as she hailed from a grandfather who taught himself advanced mathematics and a people who found the means to thrive in a segregated society. In the Spring of 1949, she graduated from Central High School of Galveston, Texas and wed Louis Mickens Jr., of Hitchcock, Texas for 23 years. This union was blessed with eight children. Daniel, Louis III, Marcus, Clyde, Veronica, Benjamin, Stanley, and Byron. Thelma wed Winfred Guidry of Texas City in 1973 for 19 years until his death in 1992 and to this union she was blessed with her second baby girl Winifred Tamisha Guidry. In 1994, Thelma was joined in matrimony to Wilton Wagner for 14 years until his death in 2008.
Thelma attended LVN school after the birth of seven of her children and worked for Mainland Memorial Hospital of Texas City as a Surgical Instrument Technician for 26 years. She retired in 1994 at the age of 63. She had the heart of an explorer, curious about other cultures and eager to travel abroad. In her children, she fostered that same desire to learn about the world at large, while being faithful servants to Jehovah. Thelma was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1950. She often told stories of her travel to New York City for historical conventions at Yankee Stadium and living in tent city during the convention. She loved Jehovah God and she made sure that anyone that she encountered knew Him and His purpose for all mankind. Within that Wisdom, she found the capacity to love and forgive. The number one thing she expressed to her children was to love one another and to this very day her nurturing and caring and loving heart can be found in her children. Her home was a waystation, for those who had nowhere else to rest. Her door was rarely locked and never shut to those in need. All who entered made a beeline for her kitchen to sample the delicacies within. Cornbread, homemade biscuits, gumbo, pineapple coconut cake to name a few. Momma, Grandma, Aunt Thelma, Mrs. Mickens, Guidry, and Wagner are all titles to which she answered freely and often because she touched so many with the power of family and love.
She is preceded in death by her parents, husbands, two children, Danny Reed and Louis III, and two sisters, Gloria Celestine, Norma Gabriel and one brother, Matthew Raney.
She leaves to mourn her, daughters Veronica Collins (Clifford) of Texas City, Tamisha Turner (Van), and daughter-in-law Gloria Mickens (Louis III). She also leaves sons Marcus Mickens of Texas City, Clyde Mickens (Phyllis) of Texas City, Benjamin Mickens of Texas City, Stanley Mickens of Texas City, and Byron Mickens (Anetra) of Richmond, TX, foster son, Fred Averette (Kathy) of Houston and beloved friend Alonzetta May of La Marque. She will be dearly missed by 18 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and a host of devoted nieces, nephews, relatives and family friends.