November 14, 1948—October 14, 2019
Flame once bright and exuberant has dwindled and guttered. Now it is out. Janet Thomas, a gentle and wonderful wife and fabulous mother, a daughter, sister, aunt and artist, has peacefully passed away on Oct. 14, 2019. Her mind had been relentlessly raked by the utter cruelty of dementia, but her courage and loving spirit stayed huge. The world now spins without her, more wobbly than before.
A lifetime ago she was born in Weehawken, New Jersey on Nov. 14, 1948. She spent her childhood and school years in nearby Guttenburg, across the Hudson River from New York City, living with her mom, dad and two sisters in a neat and tiny house, the same house where her mother had been born, where her grandparents and uncle were still living upstairs. Needless to say it was crowded. Yet they managed with grace and dignity. It was where she learned to laugh and love.
She went westward, stopping to earn her college degree as an art major at the University of Miami. She spent a decade in Tucson, Arizona, working as an amazing administrative assistant in the radiology department at the University of Arizona while studying after-hours for her Master’s in social work. It was there she met and enchanted her future husband. Together they came to Twin Falls, some 36 years ago, and eloped beneath a big blue spruce in the city park. The tree still thrives. The magistrate who married them now serves on the Idaho Supreme Court. Life keeps going.
In 1987 she and her husband embarked upon a great adventure to Thailand, returning with two tiny twin girls, Hanna and Lillie. Janet loved those girls with a powerful purity, devoting her considerable and creative energies to their well-being throughout childhood and onto young womenhood, filling their lives with love and guidance.
She loved fishing. She loved animals, dogs, horses, birds and even 4H hogs. When she wasn’t doting on her menagerie she spent countless hours as a “People for Pets” volunteer. One of her cherished moments was to see the completion of the new animal shelter, achieved only after those fraught years of fundraising. She contributed to many causes large and small, always favoring the unlucky and downtrodden.
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She loved her art. Her paintings and collages were astoundingly good. And there were her wonderful works in stained glass and a hodge-podge of other mediums. She was an original member of the “Full Moon Gallery”.
Janet engaged life full-on with gusto and intelligence and humor, with a little streak of wild. Oh yes, she was at Woodstock. She danced in the mud with the best of them. She raised her voice with the crowds protesting Vietnam. Once she dared to share home with a questionable spider monkey. Thankfully that arrangement was short-lived, much to the relief of everyone.
She is so deeply missed.
Janet was preceded in death by her parents, John and Grace Sapunar, who installed so many solid values. She leaves behind her husband Evan and daughters Hanna and Lillie Thomas, stepchildren, Demian (Linda) and Sarah (Hugo) and four step-grandchildren, her sisters Mary Lou and Carol, and her nephews Jason (Julie) and Luke (Lac), and three grandnieces, She and sister Mary Lou were best friends and confidants for many decades.
Deepest thanks go to all who have sent their love and condolences, and to friends past and present who have enriched our lives, and to the wonderful caregivers at Ashley Manor and Visions Home Health and Hospice. A remembrance will be planned at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Reynolds Funeral Chapel.