Esther May Thomas
Esther May (Weesner) Thomas was born in Newberg, Ore., to Oliver and H. Pearl Bundy Weesner. She attended Central Grade School and graduated from Newberg High School in 1936. In 1940, she graduated from Pacific College (now George Fox University) and in 1941 she graduated from the Oregon College of Education. She taught at Harrisburg and Westport in Oregon for the next two years. She was an excellent pianist and used her talent to teach and to accompany music groups throughout her life.
Esther married William Thomas on June 16, 1943. Their early married life included several pastorates in the Northwest and a brief time as Friends missionaries in Guatemala. During this period Harold and twins Jean and John were born. They moved to Spokane in 1950 to help plant the Spokane Friends Church. While in Spokane, Esther taught for a brief time at the Northwest Christian School, then dedicated herself to raising her growing family and to music and teaching ministries in the church. Their younger four children – Dorothy, twins Clyde and Clair, and Lois – were born from 1955 through 1960. Jodie and Stacey became part of the family when their mother died unexpectedly in 1964. In 1966, the family moved to Quincy, where Esther taught grade school for 15 years and worked in the Quincy Friends Church.
After retirement in 1982, Bill and Esther visited the Holy Land. The year 1984 began a 20-year stint of overseas service in the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, Bolivia and Peru, and ended with 14 years in Guatemala, where Esther worked as a librarian and Bill on the construction of the Christian Academy of Guatemala campus. The last building, a gymnasium, was named the Thomas Gymnasium in their honor. In their mid-80s they returned to Quincy, and later to Newberg to live with family members.
Esther is survived by her children, Hal (Nancy), Jean Macy, John (Marilyn), Dorothy (Tom) Hinshaw, Clyde (Carol), Clair (Pat), Lois (Dave) Vanderveer, Jodie (Doug) Crockett, Stacey (Don) Shilling; 20 grandchildren, and 35 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, William; her parents; her sister, Margaret; and her brother and his wife, Harold and Marjorie Weesner.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on April 18, 2015, at Newberg Friends Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sowers Fund, Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, 200 N. Meridian St., Newberg, OR, 97132.