Charlotte Thomas was born in Fort Hamilton, N.Y., to Thomas and Charlotte McGrath. She traveled with her family around the East Coast in her early years, before settling in San Antonio, Texas.
It was there that she met William “Jim” Thomas. After a three-month whirlwind courtship, they married in 1942, just two months before he was sent overseas during World War II. He returned more than three years later. They were married nearly 70 years and had two daughters.
While her husband was serving his country, Charlotte was attending college. She completed a degree in English from Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio. After the war, they made their home in Ajo, Ariz., where Jim was a mining engineer. She worked as a journalist in the 1950s until she was asked to help teach temporarily at the elementary school in Ajo. She ended up spending 26 years as a second-grade teacher. It was a career that she truly loved. It gave her the chance to influence many young lives and she always spoke fondly of her many pupils as they moved on with their lives.
She was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Ajo and was a charter member of the local chapter of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. She was also a member of Beta Sigma Phi, and she spent several years organizing the “Kids Voting” program in Ajo. Bridge was one of her favorite pastimes and she continued to play the game well into her later years.
When her husband’s health declined, they moved to Custer, S.D., to be close to her daughter. She attended the Catholic church, joined the Senior Citizens Center and played bridge as often as possible. When Jim died she moved to California to spend time with her other daughter.
She was loving, caring and generous. Family was very important to her and her home was open and welcoming to all. She hosted a large gathering at Thanksgiving for family and friends for many years. She was raised in a big family and had a special relationship with many nieces and nephews.
Charlotte died Dec. 23, 2017, in California. She was 94.
She is survived by her daughters, Charlotte Strutton, and Carol (Bob) Jorgensen; sister, Mary Curry; grandchildren, Jennifer (David) Johnson and Tyson (Diana) Jorgensen; six great-grandchildren; three great-great grandsons; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer with Fr. Grant Gerlach as Celebrant. Interment will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, S.D.