Obituary of Valerie Thomas
Valerie (Martha Teresa Val Jean) Thomas took leave of this world and peacefully passed away on Sunday, September 6, 2020. She was cuddled up at home relaxing from a weekend of visits with her children and grandchildren. Val was loved and admired by many family, friends, and students who were blessed to have her in their lives. She will be missed and thought of fondly every day.
Val was born and grew up in Murtaugh, Idaho loved by her parents Harold and Virginia (Keating) Savage and older brother Richard “Richie” Savage. Her youth was full of friends and bustling with activity: helping plan the Murtaugh Centennial Celebration with her mom, entertaining fans on the high school drill team, and exploring Idaho on horseback with family and dear friends. She learned the value of hard work early—earning a dollar an hour weeding bean and beet fields side by side with her “gang of girlfriends.” She earned the trust, love, and admiration of all who knew her.
Armed with a positive attitude, work ethic born from farm life, and the persevering spirit of the Savage family, Val continued her education at the University of Idaho. She graduated in 1971 with a degree in Education and a passion for encouraging and motivating others. Her passion manifested into a life-long teaching career through which she touched countless lives, helping others find their confidence and strength.
After marrying Kenrick “Rick” Thomas, the couple moved from Idaho to St. Louis, Missouri. While Rick established his new career, Val grew into her role as both Physical Education teacher and mentor to the many young people she taught. When Rick’s work took them west again to Chino, California, Val continued teaching and added her proudest title to her resume: Mother.
The Thomas family welcomed Nicholas in 1978 and Tyler in 1981. From then on, Val’s life was devoted to her boys, fostering in them the strength, positivity, and perseverance she herself had learned at such a young age. She was a model of hospitality and friendship; she seemed to create and nurture life-long relationships effortlessly. When the family relocated back to Boise, Val dedicated herself to creating a loving and welcoming home for her children, her family, and their many friends. As a PE teacher at St. Mark’s and St. Mary’s, Mrs. Thomas was endlessly popular with her many students: she was patient and kind, she made running laps on the blacktop fun, and occasionally she’d let the less-athletic kids run the stopwatch for her.
No matter the unexpected turns in life, Val faced each challenge with fortitude, empathy, and a smile. Throughout her life, she showed the world that she was a force to be reckoned with: strong beyond her stature and unrelenting in the face of opposition. She was a fierce and devoted advocate for those she loved; she was quick to reassure and motivate with a vote of confidence and a caring hug. Her dedication and love for her children and grandchildren were everlasting and unconditional. Her kind and generous spirit lives on in the many people who loved her and were loved by her.
Val is survived by her sons Nick (Brandy) Thomas and Tyler (Lisa) Thomas and her beloved grandchildren Bailey, Lillian, Emily, and Anders. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Virginia Savage, and her brother, Richard Savage. Val’s family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you, to Mom’s home health aide and friend, Esperanza, for her love and kindness.
A private Celebration of Life will be hosted at the family home; a date has not been set. The family encourages all who wish to honor Val’s memory to do so by showing kindness and hospitality to someone in need.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Valerie Thomas, please visit Tribute Store