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Wendy D. Thomas

Posted By DeBord-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On June 26, 2017 @ 2:39 pm In Obituaries | 38 Comments

Wendy Doris Thomas of Chester, NJ and Willow Valley, Lancaster, PA died peacefully on June 23rd, 2017 at the age of 77 due to complications from Corticobasal Degeneration. She is survived by her two daughters, Joanne Thomas and her husband, Doug White of Anchorage, and Ginny Zimmerman and her husband, Shane Zimmerman of Lancaster, by her son, William Thomas and his husband, Chris Hacker of Los Angeles, by her sister Judi Mewton, by her brothers Brian Shaw and John Shaw, all in the U.K., and by her grandchildren – Colin, Jordan, Allison and Ryan.

Wendy was born in Wargrave, England in 1939, the daughter of Frank and Doris (Evans) Shaw. She earned her nursing degree at Guy’s Hospital in London and left England in 1963 to work as a midwife in the United States. She ultimately settled in Chester, NJ where she lived for almost 40 years. Wendy had a passion for gardening and truly loved flowers, nature, birds and wildlife. She enjoyed hiking and cross-country skiing with friends and her beloved dogs. Her adventurous spirit and love of travel persisted throughout her life. Wendy continued her nursing work until she was 71, and for many years volunteered with the Visiting Nurse Association and the Chester Garden Club. She was diagnosed with Corticobasal Degeneration when she was 73 and then moved to the Willow Valley community to be closer to her daughter, Ginny. Wendy was a devoted mother and cherished spending time with her grandchildren. She was dearly loved by her family and friends and always had a good sense of humor throughout her life despite her illness. People often described her as kind, loyal and brave. She maintained a great fondness for England and would often return to visit with family.

A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, July 29th, 2017. For details please contact: wendythomasmemorial@gmail.com
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to one of Wendy’s favorite gardens – the Willowwood Arboretum , 300 Longview Rd., Far Hills, NJ 07931 (willowwoodarboretum.org) or Hospice & Community Care of Lancaster, 685 Good Dr., PO Box 4125, Lancaster, PA 17606-4125 (hospiceandcommunitycare.org)

Condolences for the family of “Wendy D. Thomas”

Condolence from Patty otto on June 26th, 2017 5:15 pm

Ginny and Shane, we are sorry to learn of your mothers passing. She must have been one heck of a great mom. We will keep you close in our thoughts and prayers. Patty and Wally

Condolence from Carol esch on June 26th, 2017 5:32 pm

Loved wendy. We quilted together for 35 years until she moved. She served wonderful meals in her beautiful garden room surrounded by geraniums in the winter. We laughed and ate and admired her way with flowers. A more wonderful person I have never known! I think I have a slideshow I made of her chester home and gardens. I visited her about a year or so ago before she moved to assisted living. She was very loved and will be missed.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:02 pm

Thank you Carol. We know how much Mom’s involvement with the quilting group meant to her and your friendship in particular. I have the quilt she won the first year she joined and I remember her feeling guilty for winning it as she was a new member that year. We would love to see any slideshow you might have if it’s not too much trouble.
Joanne, Ginny and William

Condolence from Jose R PEREZ, MD on June 26th, 2017 9:37 pm

Dear GINNY,JOANNE , WILLIAM AND “NIETOS”: my sincere and deep condolence for WENDY’S departure.JOINING ALL OF YOU DURING THIS SAD MOMENT!! Best regards, JOSE R PEREZ

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:06 pm

Thank you Jose. Mom enjoyed speaking with you during her final days. She always enjoyed catching up with Jo on your latest news.
Love ,
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Sara Hart Chisholm on June 27th, 2017 5:48 am

I have such fond memories of your mother, ….sitting me down for tea and conversation on a trip home, the house full of vases of pussy willows … walking me through her gardens and answering all of my novice gardening questions, …Of her planing specific fast growing , low branched trees so that her grandchildren would have good climbing trees when they were the right age. … of love and smiles and warm hugs.
My most heartfelt condolences on your loss. We are all the better for knowing her.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:12 pm

Thank you for your kind thoughts and memories Sara. I know how much she appreciated connecting with you and sharing in memories of your dear mother Natalie.
Love ,
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Marie Braun on June 27th, 2017 10:36 am

My sincere sympathy to Wendy’s family. I will miss a very dear friend.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:17 pm

Thank you Marie. I know how mush Mom appreciated you visiting as often as you did and inheriting all your beautiful orchids.
Joanne, Ginny and William

Condolence from Ry and Kathie Weisiger on June 27th, 2017 4:05 pm

Hi old neighbors, we were sorry to hear of Wendy’s suffering – and yours. We had many good times on Old 4 Bridges Road, and have fond memories of your sweet mom – tea parties (one with my mom!), beautiful flowers, great dinners, and a wonderful friendship. We named our third daughter after her!
She touched others’ lives in a special way with her warmth. Your kids have great genes. Bless you all.
Love, Ry and Kathie Weisiger

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:23 pm

Thank you Ry and Kathie for sharing your memories ….Mom so enjoyed her life on Old Four Bridges and left “kicking and screaming” as she put it. We appreciate learning your daughter Wendy was named after Mom.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Nora Hill on June 28th, 2017 4:23 am

My Dear Joanne, Ginny & Will
I greet you on behalf of the Thomas family in South Africa, UK and USA. We really mourn with you at this time. We have such wonderful memories of our wonderful times spent with you all and your precious mother in South Africa with Granny Thomas and Grandpa ‘Bill’ around the pool in their garden at Umhlanga Rocks. Also the many holidays with spent together with your folks in South Africa, Canada and at your lovely home in New Jersey.
We stand with you in spirit on this sad occasion as we cannot be there to support and comfort you.
With all our love, your aunt,
Nora Hill

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:34 pm

Thank you Nora for your kind message. Mom’s time in South Africa and with the Thomas family I know were very treasured memories for her and for us. She took quite a bit of time sharing her first experiences in South Africa in her memoir . Very much an eye opening adventure which spoke to her love to explore…a trait Mom sustained throughout her life.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Dick and Val Anderson on June 28th, 2017 3:35 pm

So glad we got to know your Mom and spend time with her.
Will remember her always as full of grace and joy.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 1:37 pm

Thank you Val and Dick…Mom’s time with you sharing in tea at your home and paddling down Eagle River were fond memories for her during her trips to Alaska. Meeting our friends was always a highlight for Mom.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Judith Mewton on June 29th, 2017 3:20 pm

How special to be able to read these condolences from such a distance. Like everyone i have the most special memories of my sister, despite living so far apart and an unusual age difference, we were very close. She will be with me in the garden, and on my clifftop walks, and she is there in the smiles of her children who have been so brave, loving and selfless throughout Wendy’s illness. Sunday evenings will not be the same i will miss our facetime chats.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:00 pm

Thank you Judi. Your support and Love throughout have been tremendous….words can not fully express what we know was a very special connection Mom had with you as her sister.
Joanne, Ginny and William

Condolence from Marjorie Carkhuff on June 30th, 2017 10:28 am

I am so sorry for the loss of Wendy, she was a bright spot in every ones day at Willow Valley. It is difficult to find the right words for such a loss, may God provide comfort to you and your Family. She will be remembered always.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:02 pm

Thank you Marjorie. We know how much Mom appreciated her friendships at Willow Valley.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Christine Marks Harley on June 30th, 2017 6:22 pm

John and I are deeply saddened to hear of Wendy’s passing. She was a dear friend of my parents for over thirty years and was loved by our entire family. We will remember her gentle graceful spirit and her love for family, animals, and nature.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:08 pm

Thank you Chris and John. Mom always enjoyed catching up with your Mom on the news of you and Brian and Jen. She had the latest picture of everybody on her bulletin board in her room most recently. We all have fond memories of Christmas eve and Mother’s day celebrations together.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:14 pm

Thank you Chris and John,
Mom always enjoyed catching up with news of you and Brian and Jen with your Mom. The mother’s day and Christmas eve celebrations were fond memories for us all.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Jean Downing on July 2nd, 2017 7:22 am

Our thoughts and memories are with you all. Alan and I were very fortunate to meet Wendy and most of her U.S. family when she returned to shared holidays and family weddings over here. Judi, is a dear friend and neighbour, so we have been aware of the changes in Wendy’s health, but her bravery and cheerfulness was always uppermost.
She was not only a very beautiful woman, she was warm, kind, loving and giving – gifted with the best attributes of humankind. Our lives have certainly been enriched by knowing her. Our thoughts are with you all. Jean and Alan

Condolence from ThankJoanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:17 pm

Thank you Jean….We know how much Mom appreciated connecting with you and catching up with Judi your latest outings and news. We appreciate your kind thoughts and memories.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Mieke Engelen on July 2nd, 2017 8:34 am

Dear Ginny, Joanne, and William,

Wendy’s death is a loss to all her friends and family, and for all the people in whose lives she played a part but especially for you, her children.
Wendy was a strong and determined woman, and loved by many. She helped wherever she could, and shared her wisdom and knowledge. I will always be grateful to her and never forget her.
Will think of you on the 29th!

Mieke Engelen

Condolence from ThankJoanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:25 pm

Thank you Mieke. We know how much mom appreciated your friendship. She always kept us up to date on her connections with her beloved friends over the years. These connections particularly helped sustain Mom during her final four years at Willow Valley.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Jane Bedell on July 3rd, 2017 12:42 pm

Please accept my condolences for the loss of dear Wendy. I so much enjoyed
meeting and talking with her while I was at Willow Valley. She was always cheerful and welcoming and will be greatly missed.

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:34 pm

Thank you Jane…Mom’s connections with friends so enriched her life and she so enjoyed introducing us (as did we) whenever possible during our visits. ‘
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Pam Moncrief on July 3rd, 2017 3:05 pm

Joanne, Ginny, and William,
Oh guys I was so sad to hear of your beautiful mother’s passing. She was such a fabulous woman to me all during my childhood, and my run ins with her as an adult! Oh the memories I cherish from your house! I will think of her any time I hear the word rhubarb or eat it, and if course hot water bottles!!! Sending hugs and love to you all! What an amazing angel you have watching over you now.
With love,

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:43 pm

Thank you Pam! Mom always enjoyed seeing you and catching up with your Mom on the latest happenings. Your Mom’s kindness and support , particularly during the last few years in Chester, were so valued by Mom. We hope you are well!
Thank you for sharing:)
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Cheryl moncrief on July 3rd, 2017 10:54 pm

Joanne, Ginny, n William
Great pic of your mom makes me cry! That was her. Loved house sitting for your mom gave me a great appreciation for gardening
Loved talking to your mom about plants
Also loved memories from childhood
She was a wonderful woman n she raise three beautiful children
Love u all
N I loved your mom as a parental figure as we were younger n as my friend as we grew older
I will truly miss her n this picture of her will always be in my heart

Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 2:50 pm

Thank you Cheryl…We know also how much Mom valued seeing you regularly and sharing in your love of plants and animals and your sense of humor:) you and Pam and your mom were a special connection for her and for us during her Chester years. Thank you.
Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from John Shaw on July 4th, 2017 8:43 am

Dear Joanne, Ginny and William,

Sally and I, together with all our children, send our fondest love and support to you at this time. Your Mum has been, and always will be, in our thoughts as her enthusiasm and energy for life was boundless.

Wendy was always such an inspiration as my elder Sister as well as Sally’s Sister-in-Law and also as Auntie to our children. With her passion for nature, walking and gardening her warm character shone through everything that she did. Although we have lived over 3000 miles away for most of our lives we can warmly reflect on all the times that we enjoyed with your Mum, and also our chats on the phone or FaceTime, as they have always been so special.

The devotion, love and bravery that you, her wonderful children, have shown has been truly immense. Your Mum’s positive and enduring spirit lives on in you so strongly.

We have such warm memories of our time together and they will never ever fade.

With all our love

John & Sally


Condolence from Joanne Thomas on July 4th, 2017 3:42 pm

Thank you John and Sally…Mom’s love and devotion to her family in England through her frequent travels with 3 little ones in tow was a true gift to us and greatly formed much of our identity today. Your sense of humor was a highlight for Mom and always a treat to see her smile and giggle during those face time chats, particularly at the end as challenging as such expression was to make. Thank you both for your love and support…
Love Joanne, Ginny, and William

Condolence from Jeff Williamson on July 4th, 2017 8:43 am

Joanne, Ginny & William
So sorry to hear the news about your mom. She was a very special woman with a kind heart and beautiful spirit. I loved listening to her talk about England. She always made any room she was in feel a bit more classy. It was a blessing to share time with her and your entire family growing up in Chester. She is walking in glorious fields of flowers in heaven now no doubt.

Condolence from Will Thomas on July 7th, 2017 6:57 pm

Hi Jeff,
Thank you for reaching out and sharing some sweet memories of Mom. We all remember the wonderful times we had growing up in Chester. We’ll miss her dearly. Great to hear from you after all these years.
Hope all is well with you and the family.
-Will, Ginny and Joanne

Condolence from Jean Bielawski on July 9th, 2017 8:27 pm

Dear Joanne, Ginny and Will,

I met your mother a few years back at a picnic Joanne had, at a park here in Anchorage near my house. She had been to the yoga retreat in Hawaii earlier that year with Joanne and had met many Alaskans there. I was not at the yoga retreat but was honored to hear a few hilarious stories told about it at the picnic, all of which involved Wendy! She was truly a fun-loving, wonderful woman and it was a joy to meet her.

I am deeply sorry for your loss of Wendy, but know that her spirit lives on in each you, and in one of my favorite walking companions, Uki <3

Jean Bielawski

Condolence from laura Potts on July 12th, 2017 3:52 pm

Dear Ginny, Joanne and Will, I’m so sorry to hear your sad news xxx

I will always have such fond memories of Aunty Wendy over the years. I can remember at Christmas time looking forward to opening her gifts the most which were always saved until last as they were always the best!

I loved visiting her, she always made me feel so welcome in your wonderful family home and garden. Every time we popped into Chester it was very clear she was adored by so many people.

She was so kind, gentle and thoughtful, I loved spending evenings chatting to her and laughing with her.

I know we will miss her dearly and I’m looking forward to looking back at photographs and reminiscing with mum and dad.

She will always hold such a special place in our hearts.


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