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Dr. Ann Van Wynen Thomas(1919 - 2013)

Thomas, Dr. Ann Van Wynen Dr. Ann Van Wynen Thomas of Pottsboro passed away on March 27, 2013, at Texoma Medical Center in Denison. A memorial service will be held on Sat., May 4, at 2 p.m. in the Judge R.C. Vaughan Community Room of Frontier Village Museum in Denison (exit 67 on Highway 75 North). She was born in the Netherlands on May 27, 1919, as the only child of Cornelius and Cora Jacoba Daansen Van Wynen. The family came to the United States in May 1921, and Ann became a naturalized citizen of the US in November 1926. She attended the University of Rochester and completed a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in June 1940. She then entered the School of Law at the University of Texas, passing her bar exams in October 1942 and receiving the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in January 1943. She was immediately accepted as a Foreign Service officer by the State Department during WWII, serving from Jan. 1943-Dec. 1947. She was posted first as a vice consul in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then as attaché of embassy in London and the Hague, the Netherlands. In Sept. 1948 she married her law school classmate Dr. A.J. Thomas, who had accepted a teaching position at Southern Methodist University Law School after completing his doctoral post-graduate work at the University of Michigan School of Law. Ann continued her legal studies and received a post-doctoral degree from SMU in Feb. 1952, while serving as a research scholar for the Southwestern Legal Foundation and lecturing to the foreign lawyers program at SMU. The two legal scholars then began writing together and had a long career of teaching and writing at SMU School of Law, as well as lecturing at various universities around the world. Ann's book on "Communism and International Law" was one of the first five chosen by the US Information Agency to be placed in libraries around the world and translated into many languages. She and A.J. collaborated on innumerable law review articles and fifteen major books, including the interpretive commentaries to the Constitution of the State of Texas. In addition to her teaching duties Ann served as pre-law advisor for SMU from 1966-84. She also served on numerous governmental commissions, advising on such important issues as Civil Rights, the Central American Common Market, and Arms Control and Disarmament. Twice she received the Willis Tate outstanding professor award at SMU, as well as the university's M award for exceptional service, the SMU faculty's outstanding professor award, and the United Methodist Church's professor-scholar award. After her husband's death she retired to Spaniel Hall, the home they had built on Lake Texoma near Pottsboro. Here she became involved with several Grayson County civic commissions, serving as chair of the Time Capsule Committee of the county's Texas Sesquicentennial Commission and co-chair of the county Sesquicentennial Commission and the Millennium Committee. She also lectured to various service organizations on constitutional and international law. In 1992 she received the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal for exceptional service to her community by a foreign-born American. Survivors include Ann's dear friends Lora Owens, the Bingham family (Ed, Karen and Grant), Lee Safford, Jerry Lincecum and Peggy Redshaw; as well as her cousins Ann Kraayevelt Jasek and Jan and Barbara Bogard of Houston, plus many other friends. She willed her body to Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and requests that any memorials given in her name be sent to the School of Law at Southern Methodist University or the .

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Published in Dallas Morning News on Apr. 7, 2013
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