Jennie G. Thomas
Jennie, age 96, left this world on May 4, 2019 at 5:30 a.m. after her health failed due to a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She died peacefully with her son, Mark Thomas of Littleton, Colorado, and daughter, Jewell Thomas of Merriam, Kansas, by her side. Grandson Rick McCormack and granddaughters Rhonda Cole and Julia Wagner were with her and comforted her near the end. Jennie enjoyed being with her grandchildren and great grandchildren and just missed meeting her 1st great great grandson, Levi Dean Owens, by a few days. Many thanks to Crossroads Hospice for their many hours spent caring for our mother. They did an awesome job!
Jennie was born in 1922 in Cripple Creek, Colorado, to William and Martha Katzer. She was the oldest of 5 children and was raised mostly by her grandmother, Gertrude Katzer, in Goldfield, Colorado. Her father mined for gold in the hills around Goldfield and Victor and died when Jennie was 15. Jennie helped raise her younger siblings while being active in Victor High School and playing in the accordion band. She loved hiking and picnicking in the foothills around Goldfield.
After graduating from Victor High School she married Victor H. Hack. In late 1943 Victor died serving as a Corporal in the Army Air Corps and a young son, Kenneth, died in a tragic accident. Soon after in 1944, Jennie gave birth to Victors daughter, Vicki. Jennie’s strong spirit pulled her through these difficult times.
Jennie met many service men coming home from the war. Many of them brought Vicki toys, trying to win her over. One man stood out from the rest and saw a need. He bought shoes for Vicki, having to use his war ration coupon. Jennie knew this man would always do the best thing for his family, and she chose correctly! In March 1945 she married Robert M. Thomas of Blue Springs, Missouri. They moved to Kansas City with Vicki and Jennie’s youngest brother, Bill, who she continued to raise until he joined the army at age 18. Jennie, with Bob, had a second daughter, Jewell, born in 1946 and 14 years later their son Mark was born.
Jennie loved being a homemaker and using her many skills to provide for her family. She baked goodies for everyone until her disease kept her from it. She always had canned fruits and vegetables on hand and sewed beautiful matching dresses for her daughters when they were young. She taught the girls to sew and embroider and was a stickler about keeping an organized and clean house. She was a leader for the girls Campfire Girls troop, a den mother for her son’s Cub Scout troop, and supported all of her children’s activities – never missing a performance or game.
Jennie went to Hope Lutheran Church almost every Sunday. When she could no longer drive, a friend would pick her up. When that friend moved, Jewell would take her until Jennie could no longer walk. God was an important force in her life. She loved Christmas and Easter always decorating for the holidays and providing Easter baskets for grandchildren. She volunteered at a thrift store for the needy. She sewed quilts and gathered items for her church group to give to nursing home residents. She was never a leader, preferring to follow and help others. Jennie was caretaker to Bob for a number of years as he suffered from COPD and heart disease. She was devastated when he died after 63 years of marriage. The family discovered the beginnings of dementia soon after his passing. Jennie’s strong and loving spirit shone in everything she did. Even as the disease ravished her memory, her laugh and smile were infectious to everyone around her. She continued to love music, tapping her hands to the beat and sometimes singing along.
She was preceded in death by Robert Thomas, her husband in 2008 and 3 of her siblings, Emma Creech, Ida Rosendahl, and Fred Katzer. She is survived by her brother, William (Bill) Katzer, and wife, Marti, of Warsaw, Missouri, her daughter, Vicki Stein and husband, Joel Stein, of Melbourne Beach, Florida, daughter, Jewell Thomas of Merriam, Kansas, and son, Mark Thomas, and wife, Lesley Thomas, of Littleton, Colorado.
Surviving are 7 grandchildren: Rick McCormack, Overland Park, Kansas, Rhonda Cole and husband David Cole, Lees Summit, Missouri, James Stein and wife Aurora Stein, Vero Beach, Florida, Julia Wagner, Lawrence, Kansas, Dena Joyner and husband Patrick Joyner, Naples, Florida, Ian Thomas, West Point, New York, and Paige Lily Thomas, Littleton, Colorado.
Surviving also are 13 great grandchildren:and step great grandchildren: Kristin Owens, Kevin Owens, Kyle Owens, Kenny Owens, Nicole McCormack, Katy Hixson, Kristen Luera, Autumn Cole, Aubrie Cole, Wakefield Joyner, Grayson Joyner, Quinn Stein and Coltrane Stein. Jennie had 2 step-great great grandchildren Dominic Luera and Adelina Luera. Jennie barely missed the newest addition to her family: newborn great great grandson Levi Dean Owens, parents are Kevin and Samantha Owens, Belton, Missouri. She also leaves many nephews, nieces, great nephews, great nieces etc.