Our dear sister, Lillian Thomas, began her new and everlasting life on Saturday morning, January 27, 2018. Lillian was born in Oxnard California on April 13, 1937, the beloved daughter of Ventura Maheno and John Thomas. She was educated in Catholic schools in Oxnard and in 1955 she followed Christ’s call to service and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. During the next thirty five years she served as a teacher and principal in schools in Redondo Beach, North Hollywood, San Diego, Los Angeles, the Oakland area and Tucson, Arizona. Lillian left the community and continued her teaching in the LAUSD. She was celebrated by the district for her effective teaching and consistently high scores her students achieved in the state testing. When she retired from the public schools after 17 years of teaching there, Lillian took her final job in education as part of the administrative team at St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood, California.
Lillian was an organizer, an optimist and a fighter. She taught with enthusiasm and humor. She always included art and music in her teaching. Her classroom reflected the work and joy of her students. She loved the challenge of difficult assignments, and Lillian was always able to motivate her supervisors, students and parents and she worked alongside each group to reach their common goals. Moreover, Lillian was an athlete and loved competition. She played tennis, swam and enjoyed golf. In her earlier years she coached girls’ volleyball and basketball. Another one of Lillian’s joys was playing Keno. She had a way of playing for hours and never tiring. Her nicknames were Lucky Lil and Diamond Lil. Lastly, she loved animals and rescued her beloved Dolly, Sonny and Cher and Rocky and gave them safe and happy homes.
One of Lillian’s greatest gifts was that she made everyone around her feel comfortable. She was everyone’s peer, never aloof. She made people laugh and put them at ease. This was a continuing pattern in her life until the end. In March, 2012, Lillian was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She fought bravely against this cancer through chemo treatments, transfusions, dialysis and hospitalizations. The nurses who cared for her admired her good humor, patience and acceptance.
Lillian Thomas taught school for 55 years and during her last years she was still teaching her family and friends how to live life with enthusiasm and how to die with faith and dignity.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her godmother, Mrs. Mora and her brother George. Lillian leaves behind her loving family: Brother Steve Thomas, sister-in-law Jacque Thomas, Niece Christy Calvert, Nephew John Thomas, Grandnephew Thomas Calvert, and her sisters: Sally O’Sullivan, Dee Dee Rushing, Mary Smiley, Patty Zalenski, and Carol Stanchfield. The family would like to thank her friends from Sun River for their visits and support. Special thanks to Colleen Mehrens whose dedicated nursing skills and unlimited generosity were a true gift during the last weeks of Lillian’s life.
May Lillian rest in everlasting peace.
Services for Lillian Thomas will be held at the St. George Catholic Church on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 259 West 200 North, St. George, Utah 84771. 435-673-2604. Rosary at 10:30 am and Mass at 11:00. Interment will be at Tonaquint Cemetery Cremation Garden.
A lunch will be served following the services at the St. George Catholic Church Parish Hall.