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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Obituary: Christine Thomas

Mother, Cal Poly library assistant, longtime union activist/organizer

Christine Thomas died June 28, 2017 at her home in Claremont. She was 70.

She was born to Stella and Peter Miller in Webster, Massachusetts on January 22, 1947. After graduation from Bartlett High School in Webster she went on to the University of Michigan, where, as she was fond of reminding her children, the only class she didn’t get an A in was calculus.

At Michigan, she was a member of the ZTA sorority and earned a bachelor’s degree in archaeology in 1968. In between her junior and senior years she won an award to work for a summer at Chicago’s Natural Science Museum, where she helped pack, label and categorize the museum’s various artifacts.

Thereafter, the young student received a scholarship to attend Louisiana State University, where she pursued her master’s degree in archaeology. At LSU she met her soon-to-be husband, Lynn Thomas. The couple both got jobs mapping the Louisiana River Delta. She never finished her master’s degree study, but married Lynn in 1972. The young couple then moved to Southern California, where Mr. Thomas completed his doctoral studies at the University of California, Riverside. During this time they spent a year in Sumatra, Indonesia so that Mr. Thomas could finish his PhD dissertation.

In 1976 Ms. Thomas gave birth to her first child, Stephanie. In 1978, the family—now a trio—spent a few months in Holland. Upon their return to the US, Ms. Thomas briefly held a job at Claremont City Hall as a typist. She left there and embarked on her 32-year career as a library assistant at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. The family was completed with the addition of a son, Robert, in 1980.

Ms. Thomas loved to read and knit,  and was especially fond of gardening. She was fair and honest and always believed in doing the right thing, her family shared. She had a passion for ensuring other people were treated fairly. These qualities are exemplified in her 30-plus years with the California State Employees Association, where she worked in addition to her day job at Cal Poly Pomona.

Ms. Thomas was predeceased by her husband Lynn Thomas. She is survived by her mother, Stella Miller; brother, Stephen Miller; daughter, Stephanie Thomas Mendoza; son, Robert Thomas; and her granddaughter, Elizabeth Mendoza.

A memorial will be held Saturday, July 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Todd Memorial Chapel, 325 Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont. An additional memorial will be held later this summer. She will be buried at Saint Josephs Garden of Peace Cemetery in Webster, Massachusetts.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Chijnaya Foundation at chijnayafoundation.org or to The Prison Library Project at claremontforum.org.

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