Geraldine 'Jerry' (O'Brien) Thomas


Posted: Thursday, November 07, 2002

Cooper Landing resident Geraldine "Jerry" (O'Brien) Thomas died Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2002, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 89.

Her family will welcome friends at Mrs. Thomas' home on Lake Shore Lane in Cooper Landing from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Mrs. Thomas was born Nov. 13, 1912, in Woodstock, Ill. She received her registered nurse degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She came to Alaska in 1941, during World War II, with two small children on the Alaska Steamship. She lived in Juneau, and worked for Pan Am Airlines. In 1944, she moved to Anchorage and worked in personnel for the Civil Service at Fort Richardson. She later worked as a nurse for Dr. James E. O'Malley Sr. in Anchorage. She retired from nursing in 1947 and became a homemaker. She lived in Anchorage, until moving to Cooper Landing in 1982.

Mrs. Thomas also traveled the Alaska Highway many times in a pickup camper with her two small children to visit family in Illinois. She studied biology and plant taxonomy at the Alaska Methodist University in Anchorage. While she was there, she discovered an unidentified lichen that was later sent to Leyden University for identification and named after her. She was also an avid gardener and was a member of the Anchorage Garden Club. In Cooper Landing she developed a breed of poppy that was named after her -- "The Thomas Poppy" -- by Trinity Greenhouse. Mrs. Thomas was also an avid bowler, photographer and reader. Late in life she took up quilting, which became her passion.

Mrs. Thomas was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard, and son Allen.

She is survived by a son, Bruce L. Thomas of Spokane, Wash.; daughters, Elizabeth Sullivan of Wildwood, Fla., and Kay Thomas of Cooper Landing; 12 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Harry O'Brien of Belvidere, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Cooper Landing Volunteer Ambulance, P.O. Box 510, Cooper Landing, AK 99572 or Cooper Landing Library, P.O. Box 517, Cooper Landing, AK 99572.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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