Oleta Lucille ThomasSeptember 12, 1926 ~ June 6, 2017 (age 90)
Oleta Lucille Hollis Thomas
September 12, 1926 – June 6, 2017
Oleta was born in Sweetwater, Texas to Homer and Oma Hollis on September 12, 1926. Most of her childhood and early school years were spent in Sweetwater. As a pre-teen, she moved with her family to Roanoke, Texas where she met Alfred “Jake” Thomas one day while jumping rope. On May 31, 1941 at the age of 14, she and “Jake” were married by a Justice of the Peace. Three years later, their first child was born. Their marriage lasted nearly 65 years and produced 3 children, 6 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Sharing a birthday with her oldest great-granddaughter was a source of great pride for her. Her 65-year devotion and love of family provided a sound foundational example for her children of what a family is.
“Jake’s” need to provide for a family took them to various other states for work including New Mexico, Colorado, California, Idaho, Washington, and Montana before finally settling in Oregon. She was very practiced at enrolling her children in various schools. After the 3 children were grown, she and “Jake” moved back to Gribble Springs, Texas where they resided developing the 10 acres they had purchased. As a young married woman, Oleta worked at “Dickies” denim factory in Texas sewing jeans. In California, she worked on a production crew crating oranges. Back in Oregon, she contributed to the family income by clerking at a West Scio family-owned grocery store. During that time, she hoed and picked strawberries and beans while the valley crops were in season. She included her children in the field crop ventures instilling in them the value of earning their own money.
Oleta loved to dance, which she and “Jake” did every chance they got. She also loved to fish; lake or stream, it didn’t matter. She enjoyed growing flowers and tending her vegetable garden and especially reaping the fruits of her labor.
First and foremost, she loved her Lord and Savior. She loved attending church and for many years, she and “Jake” hosted a bible study at their home in Scio. She listened to many, many children recite bible verses while she volunteered her time in the Awana Program. Her dedication to God provided a sound foundation for the legacy of faith that she would pass on to her children. Her God-given family was all important to her; as were her Brookdale friends and family with whom she spent the last four years.
Oleta is survived by her son Alton “Butch” (Fran) Thomas; daughter Dona Jo (Al) Lanz, and son-in-law John Cooper. She was preceded in death by her husband Alfred “Jake” Thomas; her parents Homer and Oma Hollis; brother Ira Lee Hollis; sister Lola “Pete” Sims; and her beloved daughter Sherry Lynn Cooper.
Following a private interment, a memorial service will take place at Scio Baptist Church in Scio at 10:30 AM with Pastor Bill Conn officiating. Memorial contributions can be made to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice, Albany, Oregon.