Esther Ray Steen-Thomas, nicknamed “Bee” by her parents and siblings, was born to Phillip Steen Sr. and Mary Lee McKellum-Steen on May 12, 1938, in Brazos County, Texas.
She completed her elementary and high school studies at Lincoln High School in College Station, Texas.
She accepted Christ at Washington Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in College Station, Texas.
She attended Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1960, she began her career as a Home Demonstration Agent in Bellville, Texas for Austin County Extension Services. Esther served as a County Home Demonstration Agent for over 30 years.
Esther Ray Steen moved to Waco, Texas where she united in marriage to Richard Maurice Thomas on January 4, 1973. There she joined Second Missionary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. She was a faithful member and made it her mission to serve as often as she could.
Esther’s recognitions were she was a life member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and former president of the Alpha Rho Sigma chapter in Waco, Texas. She was an active member of the Waco Prairie View Alumni Association. She also supported her community through charitable contributions, mentorship, and support of youth organizations such as the 4H program and the Waco Southern Panthers.
She was affectionately known as “Aunt Bee” which she was lovingly called by her nieces and nephews, and many others who came to know her as an extension of the family.
Preceding her in death are her husband, Richard Maurice Thomas; parents, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Steen, Sr.; sister, Ethel Maye Delley and sister-in-law, Thomye Cordelia Steen.
She is survived by her brothers: Philip Steen, Jr. and James E. Steen (Andre Mae) of College Station, Texas; sisters-in-law, Claudette McLennan and Marjorie McClennan of Willow Grove, Texas; her nieces and nephews, Philip D. Steen, III (Kathy) of Hearne, Texas, Starla R. Sloan (Donald), Rhonda Y. Steen, Natalie Bradley (Paul), all of Humble, Texas, Jarrod McClennan of Willow Grove, Texas; great and great-great nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.