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Barbara Jean (Rice) Thomas

1928 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Barbara Jean (Rice) Thomas Obituary
Barbara Jean (Rice) Thomas

Scottsdale - Barbara Jean (Rice) Thomas passed away peacefully surrounded by family on December 20, 2017 after overcoming many physical challenges through much of her adult life. Barbara was born October 31, 1928 in Phoenix, Arizona to Russell and Lettie (Combs) Rice and spent her early childhood helping out at the Rice family store on 16th St along with her large extended family of uncles, aunts, cousins and brother Ronald. After she graduated from North High she attended St. Josephs Hospital Nursing School where she met and married physician intern John Schramel. They had two daughters, Diane and Sandra Schramel, who were instilled with their mother's sense of hard work and can-do spirit. Never one to sit still, she volunteered regularly at many charitable organizations throughout Phoenix and had many friends.

In 1969 she was remarried to Alvin Thomas and they moved to Palos Verdes, CA soon after. At age 48, Barbara suffered a debilitating stroke while playing a round of golf that left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak. Ever resolute and fearless, and with great support of her husband, she regained much of her speech, re-learned to read, write with her left hand, drive a car and walk independently. She continued her volunteer work in CA and although she endured a life-long journey of therapy, it was her strong belief in hard work and determination that drove her.

Barbara was a tough competitor throughout her life and as a young woman was extremely adept at sports, including softball, swimming and golf. Despite her physical limitations she was a clever and a consummate bridge player and an excellent gourmet cook, and she and Al traveled to many countries throughout the world. She had a classic sense of style and a flair for the artistic and a love of all things bright and beautiful! She taught herself to paint and loved to work with oils. She was smart, strong, vibrant, fun, and a classy lady who loved to give of herself by hosting elegant parties and visiting friends in need. She had an insatiable love of life and rose to every challenge that came her way. Through it all, our mother retained a fabulous sense of style and humor and never lost the sparkle in her eyes or her beautiful smile.

She is survived by her brother Ronald Rice (Helen), daughters Diane Brundage (Scott), Sandra Schramel Jolley (Hal), stepdaughter Stacy Thomas Koehn (Michael), Grandchildren Erica Alfredsson (Per), Kevin Jolley, Samantha Jolley, Chasen Kukuda, Megan Nicholls and great-grandbaby, Luke Alfredsson. She was preceded in death by husband Alvin Thomas and stepdaughter Leslie Thomas Konrad (James).

To all of those who knew and loved our mother . . . we thank you for loving her. We shall miss your bright smile Beautiful Lady!

Please send any condolences through or c/o Neptune Society, 1634 S. Priest Drive #103, Tempe, AZ 85281, which will be forwarded to the family.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14, 2018
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