Gayle C. Thomas, 88, was promoted to her heavenly body Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, with her husband and children at her bedside.
Gayle was born to parents Ruby B. and Leon L. Murray in 1933, the fifth-born daughter in her family of six girls and one boy. In addition to her parents, Gayle was preceded in death by her sisters, Phyllis Avitt, Alice Colleen Rasmussen, Marian Mikesell and Donna Bauer. She was a graduate of Newton High School, class of 1952.
Gayle is survived by her husband, Leland E. Thomas of Sherwood, to whom she was married for 65 years; daughters, Deb (Dan) Rice of Kansas, Cindi Thomas of Sherwood, Sonja Thomas of Sherwood; and a son, Steve Thomas of Florida; four grandchildren, Laura (Cody) Rea, Katie Thomas, Jenny Thomas and Kimberly (Greg) Grenier; and five great-grandchildren, Angela, Ryan, Blake, June and Townes. She also leaves behind extended family on both the Murray and Thomas sides, including her sister, Sharron (Bill) Seaman; and her brother, Ron (Iva) Murray; sisters-in-law, Nelma (Bob) Hysell, MaryAnn (Roger) Christensen and Judy (John) Lazell; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends from her neighborhood and her church. Gayle loved visiting with her family and friends and a reunion with those who have preceded her to heaven will include much laughter, as it always did here on earth.
Gayle was a homemaker and followed her Air Force military-career husband to every post and base possible, including several in Hawaii, California and Japan. She made each generic military house into a beautiful home for her family. During those years, she enjoyed bowling, ceramics, reading and exploring the wonderful locations they were stationed with her fellow military wives (NCO Wives’ Club).
After husband Lee’s retirement from the USAF, Gayle and Lee hit the road in their motorhome, enjoying time with their S*M*A*R*T camper club friends and selling jewelry and military memorabilia at military bases around the country. She enjoyed making crafts and hand-made gold wire name jewelry to sell and to give as gifts.
From the family: Our thanks to the wonderful caregivers at Grace At Home Senior Care, Kindred Hospice and a very special thank you to Sonja Thomas, for being Mom’s primary caregiver in the home for these last few years. Your love and care for Mom is surely what kept her with us as long as she was.
Home-going services will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8 at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Funeral Home, 7724 Landers Road, [Sherwood] North Little Rock, Ark., 72117. There will be a visitation preceding the funeral service, starting at 9 a.m. at the funeral home. Donations in Gayle’s memory to the American Heart Association would be appreciated. A private burial will be at the Arkansas Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock, Ark., for family members.
Condolence cards may be sent to husband Lee (also went by “Jack”) Thomas care of Nelma Hysell, P.O. Box 338, Allerton, IA 50008.