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Azalia and Edward Thomas

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Azalia and Edward Thomas Obituary
Azalia Jeanne (McGranahan Thomas) and Edward Benny Thomas

Azalia Jeanne McGranahan Thomas, died Nov. 25, 2009, in Albuquerque, one month after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died surrounded by loving family and assisted living and hospice caregivers. She was 84.

Edward Benny Thomas, died in his sleep on the morning of Jan. 2, 2010, Albuquerque. He lived only 36 days longer than Azalia. He was 88.

Azalia was born in Chickasha, Okla., July 19, 1925, to Samuel D. McGranahan and Eula Rasberry. She attended high school in Raton, where she meet her sweetheart and jitterbug partner, Ed. Azalia was a lively, engaging, democratic soul who inspired many with her gifts of intellect, compassion, and social conscience. Her laughter was frequent and contagious. She loved books. It's not surprising that a high point in her life was working at the Alamogordo Public Library where she met June Harwell who became a cherished friend. Azalia attended the Unitarian Universalist Church, was active in social issues, studied genealogy, and enjoyed writing. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, fierce in care, support and defense of her family.

Edward was born in Raton, Nov. 19, 1921, to William Thomas and Isabel June Jacob. He was a kind, generous, impulsive, fun-loving person. He was a terrific storyteller with a gift for making people laugh. He was a difficult but entertaining husband, a loving and generous father, a savvy, self-educated engineer, a fair and benevolent boss, and a warm, open egalitarian in his relationships with everyone he encountered. Beside a trout stream, fly rod in hand, Ed was a force of nature. He was a large man in his energies and enthusiasms and retained a boy-like vivacity even to his final day on earth.

Ed and Azalia were married in California, August 1943, before Ed shipped overseas to fight in World War II. Ed was the turret gunner of Naval Air Squadron VB144 and saw heavy action in two South Pacific tours.

After the war both Ed and Azalia worked in the family business, Thomas Plumbing and Heating, Inc. They moved to Alamogordo in 1954 and raised their family. In the 1970s, after the family business dissolved, they moved with the construction business (Azalia, a secretary and Ed, a scheduler) to live in Farmington, Silver City, Lower Lake, Calif., Juneau, Alaska, and Salt Lake City, Utah. They moved to Albuquerque in 2001 where they lived until their deaths.

They are survived by Ed's brother, William J. Thomas of Albuquerque; their son, Michael Thomas (Minda Stillings) of Albuquerque; daughters, Terry Johnson (Kenneth) of Fullerton, Calif., Kathy Thomas of Albuquerque, and Molly Hysell (Gene Washington) of Logan, Utah; grandchildren, Melissa Johnson, Eric Johnson and Alexa Thomas; two great-grandchildren, Mason and Haley Johnson; one nephew, Kevin Thomas; and three nieces, Kim Adamson, Karen Ackerfeld and Kristi Mutz.

Azalia and Ed were cremated and their ashes will be buried at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe on March 29, 2010. The family wishes to express heartfelt thanks to the many caregivers who contributed to their parents wellbeing in their final year.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the library. Make checks payable to Alamogordo Public Library, note the donation is in memory of Azalia and Ed Thomas, and send to: Alamogordo Public Library, Attn: Mary Leslie Schmitt, 920 Oregon Avenue, Alamogordo, NM 88310

Please join the Thomas family in celebrating the lives of Ed and Azalia Thomas at a memorial service to be held on Saturday, March 27, 2010. The service will be from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at The Alumni Memorial Chapel, University of New Mexico Campus, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

A Reception at The UNM Faculty/Staff Club (1923 Las Lomas Rd NE) will follow the Service.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Mar. 21 to Apr. 20, 2010
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