Jean Elaine Thomas, 94, passed peaceful in her sleep on Jan. 3, 2017. She was a 65-year resident of The Dalles and long time local educator, Jean will be remembered for her love of family, commitment to her community, education, and her gentle, humble manner.
Jean was born in 1922 on her family's farm in Tenhassan Township in Southern Minnesota. Jean graduated from Sherburn High School and Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. In 1951, Jean moved to The Dalles to begin a 35-year career in education, teaching elementary school at Court Street and Joseph G. Wilson schools and then operating a private kindergarten from her home at 300 East 10th Street before joining the staff at Dry Hollow school, when kindergarten became part of the public school curriculum. Jean retired from teaching in 1988, but remained committed to education throughout her life, funding scholarships and working with local educators.
Among Jean's many community activities was a long-time membership in the Congregational Church of The Dalles, Chapter Q PEO, the American Association of University Women, and The League of Women Voters. She served a term on the town planning and zoning committee and recently was involved in the building of the new children's wing at the library. Jean was named The Dalles Women of the Year in 1989, in recognition of her commitment to the community.
Jean was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, John B. Thomas, and by her siblings; Jim Lucus, Donald Lucus and Doris Eastman. She is survived by her children; Catherine Johnson (Eric), Fairmont, Minn., Helen Thomas, Silverton, Ore., and James Thomas (Eileen), New Canaan, Conn., six grandchildren; Ben Johnson (Iris), Kerstin Stitt (Brian), and Ian, Mary Grace, Luke, and Ella Thomas; great granddaughters; Axel Marie and Florence Elaine Stitt.
A memorial service will be held on Sat., Jan. 14, at The United Church of Christ Congregational at 5th and Court Street. The service will begin at 11 a.m. and be followed by a light lunch at the church.
In lieu of ﬂowers, the family has requested that scholarship donations be made to PEO Chapter Q, care of Pamela Jensen, 1106 Quinton Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 or United Church of Christ Congregational, The Dalles, in memory of Jean Thomas.
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