HOUSTON – When we first met Emmanuel Thomas, he was feverishly washing cars as fast as he could to buy his 18-year-old son Blake a headstone.
“It’s devastating. You think of everything they could have been, everything they would have been, and you just keep reliving it,” Thomas said.
On Nov. 5, 2017, Blake, a football player and member of the marching band at Nimitz High School, was shot to death in a Greenspoint parking lot.
Parents' last words
Blake's mother recalls the last words she spoke to her son.
“He gave me a kiss on the cheek, he said, 'I love you, mama.' And when he got ready to walk out, my last words to him would be, ‘Be careful,’” Kieonna Allen said.
Thomas said he still struggles to cope with the loss of his son.
“It’s taken a huge piece of me. It makes me want to give up daily, but I can’t, for my kids,” Thomas said.
As of last December, Blake Rosheyn Thomas had already been buried in an unmarked grave for more than a year.
Thomas was still washing cars but still hadn’t made nearly enough to buy a headstone.
That's when Spencer Solves It got involved.
We heard about the family’s pain and they didn't even have to ask for help. Instead, we reached out to them.
We brought the entire family to Schlitzberger and Daughters Monuments in Houston, creators of beautiful gravestones since 1922.
Custom headstone design
“We are going to custom design this stone for Blake. We want it to fit his personality because this is what the Thomas family has to tell their story about their son,” Maria Schlitzberger Hall said.
Creating Blake’s headstone is a major project that took more than seven months.
First, the special black granite was procured from India.
Then, the gravestone artists at Schlitzberger took over, skillfully cutting and carving the intricate designs in the rock.
They sandblasted and shaped the images and words that are meant to live on this stone for the rest of time.
Finally, the beautiful memorial was completed. The headstone is meant to project a picture of Blake’s life to the world.
After so much pain and torment, his family got their first look at the granite and bronze tribute to their son, a young man stolen away from them way too soon.
Blake’s father was trembling with emotion when he laid eyes on it for the first time.
“It’s beautiful. It’s better than I wanted, better than what I expected. This is for my son. I am so proud of him. I am proud of his life and I thank you Bill (Spencer),” Thomas said.
KPRC 2 wants to send our most heartfelt thanks to Maria Schlitzberger Hall and her sister Kimberly for their incredible generosity in creating and donating the beautiful monument for Blake.