Dorothy May Woods Thomas died on July 20, 2013 in Nevada
City, California from being 93 years old. She was a curious, complex,
and creative woman whose lifetime spanned the period of greatest
change in human history.
Born November 12, 1919 in Mineral Springs, Arkansas to Oscar
Thomas Woods and Meda Olive Winn, her breach birth was attended
by an aunt as a snow storm prevented the doctor’s arrival. While her
parents worked long hours as a barber and a beautician, Dorothy and
her younger sister, Marjorie, spent most weekends at the movie theater
developing a love for clever dialogue and artful acting. Their home was filled
with music as their father practiced with his dance band and Dorothy’s father taught
her to play the piano. Dorothy’s father barely survived a car accident in Arkansas and his recovery forced the
family to relocate to California. Dorothy went to Roosevelt High School in Fresno, California and graduated in
1937, having been active in journalism and drama. James Perry Thomas first saw her performing in a school
play and they married September 2, 1938 in Fresno, CA.
The couple lived in Fresno, CA; Denver, CO; Redwood City, CA; Newark, Scotch Plains and Bernardsville,
NJ; Los Gatos, CA; and for the past 28 years have been residents of Grass Valley. Dorothy held various
receptionist and secretarial jobs but believed her most important job was that of mother. Her sons were born
in 1944 and 1947 and Dorothy was a den mother for the Boy Scouts, classroom helper, Sunday School teacher,
and church organist. Her daughter was born in 1960 and Dorothy supervised music lessons, dance lessons
and horseback riding lessons. Over her lifetime, Dorothy traveled to every state in the USA., every province
of Canada, and to every continent save for Africa and Antarctica. She learned to fly a plane, ski down a slope,
and she raised Great Danes and poodles. Ever curious, she always dreamed of going to college and she fulfilled
her wish in 1976 by attending West Valley College in Saratoga, CA and gaining her Associate of Arts Degree
Dorothy was always exploring new mediums for creative expression. She wrote stories, performed and
directed amateur dramatics, took ballet and ballroom dance classes, studied piano and organ, took courses in
sewing and fashion design, painted in every medium, and finally took up photography on a semi-professional
basis operating out of her home darkroom. She loved going to museums, galleries, craft fairs, stage shows and
Dorothy is survived by her husband, J. Perry Thomas, and her sister Marjorie Trombetta. She is also
survived by her children: Perry Alan and Kathy Thomas, Michael Lee and JoAnn Thomas, Sandra Thomas
and John DeVera. Her legacy is carried on by her grandchildren: Wendy and Cory Clemons, Michael Perry
and Robin Thomas, Hannah Laura DeVera and Samuel Thomas DeVera. Dorothy was able to meet her greatgrandson,
Kyle Perry Thomas.
Home for Dorothy always seemed to be at the top of a steep hill–hard to get to but a wild ride every time
she ventured out. A private family memorial was held for Dorothy at the home of Perry Alan Thomas on July
21, 2013. The family wishes to thank Hospice of the Foothills for their assistance in caring for Dorothy in her
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