Betty Thomas always had room in her heart to love one more. As the matriarch of a big, boisterous and ever-expanding family her heart and her home were always open. Even during her last hours, her life was overflowing with faith, family and friends.
She died Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Quincy, amid a chorus of her favorite hymns, surrounded by the family she loved. She was 87.
Betty (Taylor) Thomas was born in Quincy on March 11, 1930. After meeting Dick Thomas in the Quincy High School band, he gave her an engagement ring as a graduation present. They began their 61-year marriage on August 14, 1949. Betty was a mother to six, a grandmother to 19, a great-grandmother to 23, and a second mother, adopted grandmother, friend and confidante to hundreds. She reveled in being the hub around which the Thomas family turned.
After a brief career as a telephone operator, Betty turned her attention to her children and her church. She was an active member of Vermont Street United Methodist Church, serving as president of the United Methodist Women twice, and sitting on nearly every committee the church had. She was a charter member of the Double Ring Sunday School Class and volunteered for everything from vacation bible school to the mother/daughter banquet.
Betty also served as a lifetime member of the PTA, helped lead PEO and worked with the American Field Service foreign exchange program. As part of AFS, Betty and Dick made room for a Thai exchange student named Yai in the 1966-67 school year.
Betty enjoyed spending time with family and friends by the water first at their home at the Lake of the Ozarks, and later in life on the beaches of Florida as a snowbird. She loved taking bike rides with Dick and collecting shells. She was an avid reader, played bridge and spent time cross-stitching and crafting. Even up to her last weeks of life she could be found attending events with her grandkids and entertaining her great-grandchildren at Sunset Home.
Betty is survived by her children, Rick Thomas and his wife, Linda, of Decatur, IL., Karen Kinney and her husband, Tim, of Camdenton, MO, Bruce Thomas of Quincy, Ross Thomas and his wife, Gayla, of Ballwin, MO, Jeff Thomas and his wife, Karen, of Quincy, and Sara Meyer and her husband, Eric, of Quincy; her grandchildren Jason Thomas and his wife, Jennifer, Lindsay Raich and her husband, Nick, Jessica Bach and her husband, Andrew, Nathan Kinney and his wife, Chaela, Jennafer White and her husband, Brady, Ryan Thomas and his wife, Sarah, Tara Gardner and her husband, Kyle, Ian Thomas and his wife, Trisha, Meghan Grimmer and her husband, Brian, Kameron Thomas, Raegan Thomas, Kirsten Thomas, Linda Meckem and her husband, David, Kristen Zahm and her husband, Derek, Steven Thomas, Lauren Balzer and her husband, Alan, Haley Meyer, Emily Meyer and Andrew Meyer; and twenty three great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Nancy (Taylor) Kattelman of Ft. Worth, TX; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Dick Thomas, her parents, Virgil and Alice Taylor, her sisters Dorothy (Taylor) Still and Pat (Taylor) Garnett, and dear friends Dave and Betty Montgomery.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday morning at 10:30 in Vermont Street United Methodist Church, 818 Vermont Street, Quincy, with Chaplain Clif Weisinger and Rev. Patty Johansen officiating. Burial will be in Quincy Memorial Park.
Visitation will be Monday evening from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday morning from 10:00 until the time of services at Vermont Street United Methodist Church.
The Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Sunset Home or Vermont Street United Methodist Church.
The family would like to thank the staff and volunteers at Sunset Home for their excellent care and kindness for Betty during her stay.