Sarah E. Thomas of DeKalb, formerly of Aurora, Ill., passed from this life into eternal life on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at Bethany Health Care and Rehab Center in DeKalb.
She was born March 26, 1937, in Jackson County, Mo., the daughter of Baldwin and Ruth Elizabeth (Scroggs) Sears. Sara was adopted in infancy, and except for two years living in Elburn, she spent most of her childhood in Aurora.
Sara graduated from West Aurora High School, where she excelled in music. She learned to play eight instruments, including bass, tenor and alto saxophone, clarinet, drums and more. In later years, she would teach herself to play the organ as well. She graduated with the class of 1955.
Following graduation, she attended Wheaton College for a time, where she majored in physical education. School would have to wait as Sara met and fell in love with a man named Everett Thomas.
On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, she was united in marriage to Everett R. Thomas. They made their home on the Meredith Farm south of Elburn for two years as Everett worked for Les Meredith. In the early 1960s, they moved to Aurora, where they made their home on the west side of town and Sara raised her family and began working part time as a nurse’s aide at Copley Hospital, Aurora. Sara returned to school to earn her certificate as a licensed practical nurse in Chicago and specialized in long term care nursing at a Chicago school.
Sara’s early 30s brought challenges as she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Despite her diagnosis, Sara worked at Elmwood Care Center, Aurora, and several others around the Aurora and Westmont area. She battled the disease into the 1970s when poor health forced her to stop working. Even after her retirement, Sara battled back each time it reared its ugly head, coming back from being bed-ridden several times and even getting her drivers license back.
Following Everett’s death in 2000, she continued to make her own home at Constitution House, Aurora. There she was on the resident’s council and was active in arts and crafts until 2004, when she became a resident at Bethany Healthcare following a broken hip.
Sara’s pride and joy were her family, and none were more precious than her grandchildren, whom she helped raise. She was always there when you needed help, especially if you needed help or to be spoiled.
She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Aurora.
She is survived by three children, Shari (Steve) Dixon of Shabbona, Ill., Jeff (Gina) Thomas of Estero, Fla., Joseph M. (Karen Adams) Thomas of Elburn; 10 grandchildren, Lauren Dixon, Jimmy Dixon, Bridget (Tristan) Schmit, Michelle (Joeseph) Brandonisio, Rudy Thomas, Jackson Thomas, Sophia Thomas, Shanna Adams, Krystal Thomas and Haley Olsen; four great-grandchildren (and two more on the way), Trenton Schmit, Megan Schmit, Miabella Brandonisio and Vito “Luke” Brandonisio; one brother, Charles (Laurie) Sears of Aurora; two nephews, Christopher and Jonathan Sears, and a family of friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Everett.
Visitation will be held on Friday, May 1, from 4 to 6:45 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, with a service to celebrate her life to be held at 7 p.m. The Rev. Deborah Percell will officiate. Private interment services will follow at a later date. A memorial will be established in Saras’s name to benefit her favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Sara E. Thomas Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com.