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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.

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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. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.

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