Delores Ann Malone Thom, 87, died 15 March 2021 in Albuquerque, NM where she lived with her daughter.
She was born to Clancy T. Malone and Alice Mae Blanken on August 18, 1933 at Fort Riley, Kansas. She was raised in Junction City, KS at 1016 N. Jefferson and graduated from Junction City Junior-Senior High School on May 25, 1951. On August 25, 1951, she married Leo Robert Thom at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Junction City, KS. In June 1952, she received orders to join her husband in Japan. She was assigned housing at Misawa Air Force Base on the northern part of the island of Honshu, and Leo was stationed at Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido. He flew in every 5th weekend on the courier plane to spend the weekend with his wife. In April 1953, she joined Leo in Sapporo, and they lived there until they returned to the US in November 1953.
Delores and Leo established a home together at Lawton and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Delores set up a home at 4733 L.S. Comanche on Fort Sill where she became a mother to her daughter, Linda. Her sister Shirley lived with her for a short while and helped Leo and Delores move to their first home, 2903 Prentice in Lawton. Delores became a mother for a second time to her son, Leo. In 1963, Delores and her husband moved into a brand new housing area at Fort Sill on 5783B Kinzel Rd where they had room for their growing family. With children in school, Delores became a Red Cross volunteer completing 800 hours in dental assistant training and working in the Fort Sill Dental Clinic. She was active at St John Lutheran Church and with Aid Association of Lutherans.
In 1966, Delores accompanied her husband to his next assignment in the Philippines. Being married to the Command Sergeant Major of the JUSMAG, she found herself taking leadership of the Joint Military Wives Club serving as secretary, vice president, and finally President. She traveled to Clark Air Force Base by car and Sangley Naval Station by boat launch to grocery shop and began her hobby interest in ceramics and tole painting. She became active in a Lutheran Church mission church, where her children received their confirmation.
In 1968, Delores and family returned to the United States aboard the USS President Wilson. She established her next home at 8057 14th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN. Looking for something to do to fill her days while her children were in school, Delores became a card punch operator for the Department of Agriculture.
In 1969, her husband received orders for Viet Nam. Delores moved the family to the place she considered home, Lawton, OK. She moved into 5906 Briarwood Dr and attended Holy Cross Lutheran Church. She again became active with the Red Cross, and became a dental assistant in the Periodontic Section of the Fort Sill Dental Clinic. She was a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and was active with Aid Association for Lutherans.
Delores again packed up the family in July 1971 to join her husband at his assignment with the Defense Language Institute, Washington DC. They moved into a home at 5405 Clifton St, in Springfield, VA and became members of Grace Church. She and her husband sponsored the Walther League, taught youth Sunday school, was a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and was active with the Aid Association of Lutherans.
Arriving in Monterey, CA in 1973, she set up another home on the Presidio of Monterey, in Monterey, CA. She and her husband became members of Faith Lutheran Church and became active with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and was active with the Aid Association for Lutherans. Without children at home to watch over, she became employed by Civil Service at the Finance and Accounting Branch, Fort Ord, CA. She moved to the Data Processing Center and then the Military Personnel Division, Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, CA. Delores received many awards while at the Presidio of Monterey.
In 1973, her husband retired and Delores moved again into 260 Cosky Drive, Marina, CA believing this would be her final forever home. In 1979, Delores joined her husband working for the Social Security Administration in Gilroy, CA, as a GS-3 Claims Clerk and quickly worked her way up to a GS-7 Service Representative, until she resigned the position in November 1987.
Delores and her husband moved to Ulysses, KS to be near her sister Shirley, who was an artist. Delores became interested in painting and quickly became an accomplished, self-taught artist. She and Leo began canning and fishing. Delores and Leo became members of Grace Lutheran church. After a tornado touched down near their home, they decided to move one last time, back to Lawton, OK where her mother and step-father lived.
Delores and Leo moved into 2220 NW 40th St in Lawton, and for the first time she had a a dedicated place to paint. She joined the Cotton County Art Council and the Lawton/Ft Sill Art Council. She won numerous ribbons and awards at fairs and shows, including the 1999 Best of Show at the Gallery on the Green for her oil painting titled “Sunset Path”. She sold a number of her paintings and donated a special piece to the United Way of Oklahoma for one of their annual fund raisers. Delores loved to paint and was proficient in oil, acrylic, water color, pencil and other mediums. She continued to paint until 2014. She and Leo were again active in St John Lutheran Church, the church she always considered her home church. She continued to be active with Aid Association of Lutherans (which became Thrivent for Lutherans).
Following her husband’s death in 2007, Delores moved to Albuquerque, NM in 2014 to live with her daughter and son-in-law. Delores was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which slowly took her memories away. She remained joyful and retained a sense of humor until her surgery. Her painting became coloring. She enjoyed helping to cut vegetables and was quick to point out when she believed you were doing this wrong. She loved to be outside.
Delores was a dedicated Christian. She was active in the many Lutheran churches she belonged to over the years, including the Lutheran mission church in Quezon City, Philippines where both of her children received their confirmation. Over the years, she served as a Walther League Counselor, a member and sometimes officer of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Sunday School teacher, and other groups. She was a member and sometimes officer of the local branches of the Aid Association of Lutherans (now Thrivent).
She was active in support of her husband’s military career, serving in various officer positions of the NCO Wives Club at the many locales where they were stationed. She was a member of the Cotton County Art Council. Delores served various positions with the Lawton/Fort Sill Art Council. And, she was a Retired Service Volunteer contributing hundreds of hours of volunteer work. She was a member of the Crippled Turkey’s Square Dance Group until she broke her foot. She was active in the Lawton Center for Creative Living quilting group helping to complete many charity quilt projects.
Her many hobbies included painting, drawing, sewing, quilting, crochet, embroidery, fishing, canning, and collecting. Her many hobbies won ribbons and awards at county fairs.
She is survived by: her daughter Linda Surran, and husband, Bob, Albuquerque, NM; grandson MSgt Justin Surran, USAF, and wife Tomomi, Albuquerque, NM and their children Alicia and Jesse; grandson Christopher Thom and wife Layna, San Jose, CA; her step-father Vernon Nation; many grandchildren and great grandchildren from a large extended family; and many nieces and nephews. She was proceeded in death by: her husband, Leo Robert; her son, Leo Alan; her father, Clancy; her mother, Alice; her sisters Dorothy Bultman, Loretta Unfred, and Shirley Bultman.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Delores Thom to the:
Building Fund, St John Lutheran Church, 102 SW 7th St, Lawton, OK, 73501;
or to the Alzheimers Association - North Ridge, 8101 Palomas Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.
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