Donnellan Family Funeral Services
Skokie, IL 60077
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Elizabeth Thomas

1935 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Elizabeth Thomas Obituary
3/2/1935 - 5/24/2017 Elizabeth (Betty) Ann Thomas passed away May 24, 2017 in Colorado Springs, CO. Betty was born the daughter of Grace and Joseph Driessen on March 2, 1935 in Appleton, Wisconsin. She was the youngest of four children, Joanie (d.) , Sara (d.), and Joseph (d.). At a young age, she and her family relocated to the Detroit, Michigan area. Betty went to nursing school at Mercy School of Nursing, Mt. Carmel Hospital in Detroit and graduated in 1955. She went to work as an RN at Detroit Receiving Hospital where she met her future husband Dr. William (Bill) Charles Thomas, Jr. (d. 2013). Betty and Bill wed in 1960 in Detroit and shortly after, moved to Chicago. They then had their first son William Charles Thomas III (d. 2002) in 1961. In 1968 the family moved to their residence in Wilmette, Illinois. Bill and Betty celebrated the birth of two more sons, John Joseph of Colorado Springs, CO (b. 1965) and Christopher Philip of Marina Del Rey, CA (b. 1973). In 2013 Betty lost her beloved husband Bill after 53 years of marriage. She moved from Wilmette to Colorado Springs in late 2014 and remained there close, to her son John and his wife Diane, until her death. Betty was a devoted member of the Catholic Church. She attended St. Joseph's in Wilmette and worshipped at Shields Chapel in Evanston, Illinois. Betty dedicated much of her life to the service of others. After retiring from nursing to raise her children she eventually found her way back to it and became a Hospice Nurse in the late 80s. She loved her work with hospice and found great spiritual fulfillment in it. For many years, Betty volunteered as a tutor for children in reading, writing and arithmetic. Betty loved the natural world and was a staunch supporter of many charitable organizations that aimed to improve it. Whether it was concern for the health of the environment or the loss of natural habitat of animals in distant lands, conservation of the natural world's rich, wild beauty and all the animals that inhabit it, were steadfast concerns of her heart. She cared equally for the human rights of all others and was an active and peaceful voice for the end of war, oppression, injustice and inequality around the world. One of her favorite experiences was taking part in the construction of a home for Habitat for Humanity alongside former President Jimmy Carter. She loved to read, she loved birding and Betty and Bill also loved their dogs. They rescued many through the years. There was never a long stretch of time where a 4-legged family member was not around. Bill and Betty's last dog Kila is now with her son John and his wife Diane in Colorado. Betty and her nature may best be defined by her love for her family, love for her neighbors, and even love for strangers. Betty and Bill broke many barriers and defied many odds by believing in their love at a time when the world could not accept it. Their love and the beautiful lives they lived, were a gift to us all and are left as examples to all, that love can conquer anything and endures the trials of time. We will always miss and love our dear parents but we find peace in knowing they are once again together above. Betty is survived by her sons John and Chris, her grandson Colin, and her granddaughters Shannon and Shelby. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 18th, 2017, 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1747 Lake Avenue, at Ridge Road, Wilmette, IL 60091. A luncheon will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Habitat for Humanity, Food for the Poor, or Humane Society of America. Info: www.donnellanfuneral.com or (847) 675-1990.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Nov. 16, 2017
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