TRAVERSE CITY — Catherine “Kay” Thomas, 97, of Traverse City, passed away peacefully Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Hope Village in Williamsburg.
Catherine was born in Grand Rapids to G. Holly Way and Lila Dean on Nov. 3, 1915. On April 3, 1938, she married her husband of 58 years, the late Ray Thomas.
Catherine graduated from high school in Grand Rapids and from commercial business school in Chicago.
While living in the Chicago area she enjoyed riding her bike around Navy Pier, reading, dining out, golfing and playing cards with family and friends. Catherine also did needlework and was creative at knitting sweaters. She had a great love for animals, especially dogs and cats. She also enjoyed sending and receiving greeting cards. Per her niece, “Aunt Kay kept Hallmark in business.”
Once Ray retired from the sales business he and Catherine moved to Antrim County, where they ran a successful tree farm. After retiring from Happy Holiday Farm she and her husband Ray operated together, they moved to Traverse City and spent their winters in the Tampa Bay area.
Catherine and Ray were generous supporters of the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools and St. Francis Catholic Church.
Catherine is survived by her foster son, James (Connie) Baker, of Kenosha, Wis.; nephews, Frank Wayne Dusek, of Chicago, and William Thomas (Roberta) Dusek, of Mt. Prospect, Ill.; many nieces and nephews; and particularly dear friends and neighbors, Robert and Ginny Baker.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ray in 1996; and sister, Yvonne Josephine Dusek.
One of Catherine’s last wishes was to publish a final greeting card:
“There was a list of folks I knew, all written in a book
And every year at special times, I’d go and take a look.
And that is when I realized, those names were all a part
Not of the book they’re written in, but deep inside my heart.
For each name stood for someone who had touched my life sometime
And in that meeting they’d become a special friend of mine.
I really felt that I was composed of each remembered name
And my life was so much better than it was before they came.
Once you’ve known that “someone”, all the years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word or a friendly face.
So never think my greeting cards were just a mere routine
Of names upon a list that were forgotten in between.
For when I sent a greeting card that was addressed to you
It was because you were on that list of folks, I’m indebted to.
And whether I had known you for many years or a few
The greatest gift that God gave me was having friends and family like you!”
The family greatly appreciates the very professional care and many kindnesses to Catherine from the Hope Village staff and the Hartland Hospice team.
A celebration of Catherine’s life will take place at the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Francis Catholic Church in Traverse City on Saturday, April 27, 2013.
Please share your fond memories and condolences at www.CovellFuneralHomes.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Traverse City.