Friends and family gathered to honor Thomas and to express their gratitude for all the hard work and dedication she has devoted to Bolivar County.
"She will finally go into retirement. I asked her husband what did she plan to do while in retirement and he responded by saying ‘Travelling and avoiding any task that I may ask of her to do,''' said Attorney Michael Carr.
"Judge Thomas has devoted years of service in our county. She has been the county court judge for three terms and she is stepping down," he added.
Supervisor Donny Whitten presented Thomas with a resolution.
"I am going to try not to get emotional but I will miss this lady. She has been a dear friend of mine. She has been a treasure for this county and I don’t think that in all of the years in my public service that I have met anyone that has a heart the size of hers," said Whitten.
"This resolution does not come close to saying and honoring Judge Thomas for all of the work that she has done," he added.
Whitten said Thomas has shown so much commitment to the children in Bolivar County.
"She did not serve in this position for any recognition, she did it all out of the goodness of her heart and concern for the county. Judge Thomas worked very hard to help our children find a better way or road to a better life," continued Whitten.
Afterwards, Thomas expressed appreciation to various Bolivar County departments for being cooperative with her during her time of service.
"I would like to thank all of the members of the Bolivar Bar Association who have supported me for numerous years that I have practiced as an attorney in legal services and private practice. I would also like to thank the good people of Bolivar County. You all have made my life meaningful," she said.
"My best wishes go out to Attorney Hunter Nowell who will be our new county and youth court judge. I would like to thank everyone who has been supportive of me throughout my term. The entire staff in the courthouse has been like a family to me," added Thomas.
Near the end of the occasion, a long time friend and former colleague of Thomas, Katherine Sharp, said "Gwen and I have been friends since law school. One day I walked into the library of Howard University School Law and I felt like a lost chicken. I did not know anything or anybody until I met Gwen.
"We have had a life long relationship since this and it has been 41 years," added Sharp.
"I am so happy that she is retiring. I know some of you feel that you will be losing her but it time for her to breath and enjoy life. She is bright, committed, dedicated, loving, caring, smart, disciplined and many other attributes.
"This is the time for Gwen and her husband to really enjoy life and to continue to give, mentor, coach and guide the community," she continued.
Sharp said although Thomas is retired, she believes that she will continue to be instrumental in the community.