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Lavinia Marie (Zook) Thomas

Born: Mon., Apr. 20, 1925
Died: Fri., Apr. 13, 2018


Memorial Service

12:00 PM Fri., May 18, 2018
Location: Cathedral of Saint Helena


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Missoula - Lavinia Marie Thomas (Zook) passed away in Missoula, Montana on April 13, 2018 Lavinia was born April 20, 1925, in Miles City, Montana the seventh of eight children. Her young life was spent on the family farm near Cohagen, Montana. Life could be hard on a dryland farm in eastern Montana and after a day of picking potato bugs, or hoeing corn, she knew in her heart, that there must be a better way to live. On October 2, 1946, Lavinia Marie Zook married James Jay Thomas in Tacoma, Washington after he was discharged from the Army. After years of struggle and three children, they moved to Helena where she supported her husband through Carroll College and subsequent years of graduate work. During her lifetime she worked a variety of jobs: as a waitress, telegraph operator for the Milwaukee Railroad, checker at the Garden Spot Market, and as secretary and bookkeeper for Mel Lowe at Helena Sand and Gravel, where she worked until her retirement. She spent many years serving the Elks club in Helena. Lavinia loved to travel and in her retirement was able to do that. She traveled to Germany to seek her roots, and Ireland, Hawaii, and Vermont for a cross country ski adventure and to New York City to dance on table tops with lady friends. On December 29, 2013 her satisfying and independent life came to a close when at the intersection of Prospect and Roberts she was slammed into by a young lady “huffing” and traveling at 70 mph. As a result of this accident, Lavinia received broken bones and traumatic brain injuries which necessitated her moves to Intensive Care, intensive rehabilitation, and to assisted living, and finally into a memory care unit. Lavinia made sure that her children had things not available to her: Her children all had good dental care, good shoes, and a college education. We thank you mom. She will long be remembered for her love of a good time, a good visit, dancing to a good band, a lively card game (which she often won) helping others, and her famous cinnamon rolls. Lavinia was predeceased by her parents, Fred and Anna Zook and siblings, Herbert, Vernon, Clayton, Melvin, Gordon, and Nathelyn Zook (Felton) by her husband James Jay Thomas, and son Thadley Jay Thomas. She is survived by her sister, Evelyn Debock (Jim), of Powell, Wyoming children Linda Lee Thomas of Kalispell and Rebecca Anne Thomas of Missoula, grandchildren, Jason Carpenter of Eugene Oregon, Joshua Carpenter (Amber) of Kalispell, Mathew Thomas (Daisy) of Boise, Idaho, Jessie Thomas (Jacob Besmer) of Missoula, Jodi Carlson (Christen) of Boise Idaho, and great grandchildren Owen, Marlo, and Lola Carpenter, and Andrew, Ella, and Zane Thomas, and Rose and Zeke Besmer, and Maddux and Shelby Carlson and numerous nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Funeral service will be held at the Cathedral of St. Helena at 12:00 noon on Friday, May 18, 2018. Should friends desire, memorials may be sent to Hospice of Missoula, 1900 S. Reserve Street, Missoula, Montana 59801.

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Condolence Booklet

Susan Capdeville
   Posted Mon May 14, 2018
Linda, Josh, Jason and families,

Sorry to hear of Lavinia's sad accident and passing. I remember what fun Lavinia was, from our travels with her and Jim,chatting with her in the store from time to time, and her famous lunchtime mac and cheese and Paul Harvey with Landon and Josh.

Hope memories of good times will sustain you through this time.
Thoughts and prayers,
Susan Capdeville


Kevin Collins
   Posted Wed May 16, 2018
Lavina, May you rest in peace, It was allways a pleasure to see you at work in the morning at HSG, Thank you for your help in guideing me along and showing me the way.I often thought about you from afar and where you were. 1972/1974

Lynette Zuroff
   Posted Thu May 17, 2018
Lavinia’s goodness most certainly is being rewarded with front-row, priority seating in Heaven and in the minds of everyone blessed by knowing her. Although Lavinia’s lessons have been an integral part of my life for fifty years, she has recently been in the front row of my mind.

Foremost in my mind are memories proving Lavinia had a zesty enthusiasm for enjoying life. Every Thanksgiving I think of her call of distress telling me I had better get to her house because she was having trouble preparing Thanksgiving dinner. When I arrived, I learned she was not having trouble she was unable to overcome; she simply was in need of a giggle partner. I do not remember a thing about the dinner, although I am sure it was a success because Lavinia’s culinary skills were excellent. What I do remember is that I did very little to prepare dinner and that we often laughed so hard we couldn’t see what we were doing. Whenever I was with Lavinia, at least a portion of our time was devoted to laughing.

Most of the laughing that occurred when I was with Lavinia could be blamed on Lavinia’s humor. She found humor in frustrating situations and mundane events, and she loved to tell me stories that were not always true. For instance, when I first met Lavinia, she had me convinced that she drove truck for HSG and often shoveled the sand. Sometimes her impish smile would give her away, but more often then not, she was able to hold my attention with outlandish tales that seemed very plausible when she told them.

Lately, I have been thinking often about a conversation I had with Lavinia about selecting the right attire to wear to a dance. She insisted that comfortable, attractive shoes were the most important part of any ensemble. I am not sure why this conversation, more than the thousands of others we had, enters my mind so frequently. Perhaps it is because she served as my comfortable, attractive shoes that let me dance through life.

Linda and Becky, I know she was very proud of you and Thad and of all of your family. I hope the memories in the front rows of your minds ease your sadness and give you comfort.

Brenda Brown Nolan
   Posted Thu May 17, 2018
I really did not know my great aunt Lavinia. I just know that my grandma, Nathelyn Felton Zook, loved her and they were both beautiful women. I know she will be missed by all.

Kendra K
   Posted Tue January 22, 2019
I am very sad to learn of the passing of Lavinia. I met some of you a few years ago when I got the chance to meet Lavinia after the accident. I was on the scene and helped her the moment she was hit. Everything I learned about her showed how wonderful of a lady she was. I am glad to have met her, and so deeply sorry for your loss. Especially since that accident affected her forever. I know this is almost a year later but I was thinking about the accident today and learned she had passed. Best wishes to your family.

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