Jody Thomas was born in Mooreland, Oklahoma, on April 7, 1930, to Ralph D. Raber and Mary Raber (née Dunbar). She died January 20, 2019, at the age of 88 in her apartment in Meadow Lake Village, Meridian, Idaho. Her family moved to Boise when Jody was very young. She was known from her early years as Jody rather than by her given name, Martha Jo. She started playing piano as a little girl and was an accomplished pianist and musician from an early age. She met Eugene C. Thomas in junior high school and they dated throughout junior high, as well as Boise High School, where they graduated in 1948, with Mom at the top of her class. Gene headed off to Columbia University in New York City and Jody went to the University of Idaho where she majored in History, a subject that fit with her natural curiosity and intelligence. Jody pledged Pi Beta Phi and made many lifelong friends there. In December 1950, Gene and Jody were married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise, spending the next few years in New York while Gene completed college and law school, also at Columbia. Jody worked in the Columbia admissions office and also sang in the Robert Shaw Chorale.
They started their family with son Michael in 1952 and little brother Stephen the next year. In addition to being an outstanding wife and mother, Jody became active in many community events and organizations. Over the years, she was involved in the Boise Art Gallery, Junior League (president), Fundsy (secretary), Questers, PEO (president), and others. Throughout these years, she nearly always had a pet, usually a dog and once in a while a cat. Her Maltese, Cookie, almost cured her of pets, but she later developed a fondness for Springer Spaniels and she and Gene adopted three of them over the years, each one named Sundae or maybe Sunday. We were never sure. Jody added golf to her many interests when she and Gene joined the Hillcrest Country Club in the early 1960s where they were members for nearly fifty years. They also spent much of their time in McCall, Idaho, in a cabin they loved, not far from the place her parents once owned and she had spent the summers of her youth. Gene became the president of the American Bar Association in 1986 and that expanded their circle of friends and travel horizons, taking them to many places throughout the country and the world, including Europe, the Soviet Union, and China.
Mom’s health was good most of her life, but in her last decade she suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. She never complained about it. In fact, she never complained much about anything and spent a lot of her time thinking of her family and friends, and what she could do for them. She loved to shop at Fred Meyer’s, always on the lookout for something for the great-grandchildren, plus a few cookies and the occasional bottle of wine. Mom was a great believer in the Golden Rule, which she improved with her generosity and love for others and refusal to let Parkinson’s get her down.
Gene Thomas died in 2010 a few months before they would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Jody is survived by her sons and their wives, Michael and Martha Thomas and Stephen and Maureen Thomas. She is also survived by her grandchildren Katherine Bearg (Scott), John Thomas (Greg Hernandez), Nicholas Thomas (Melissa), Peter Thomas (Lara), Andrew Thomas (Stacy Fielding), Rachael Austin, and her beloved great-grandchildren.
Jody's family would like to thank Meadow Lake Village and its staff for providing Jody with a loving and caring home for the past five years. The family is also grateful to Keystone Hospice for their compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, Jody would have appreciated contributions to the St. Luke's Foundation, the Idaho Humane Society, or a favorite charity.
A Celebration of Life will be held for family and friends at Hillcrest Country Club, 4610 Hillcrest Drive, Boise, on Sunday, February 10, from 1 - 3 p.m.