Obituary of Elizabeth Ellen Knights Thomas
Elizabeth “Betty” Knights Thomas
Our Mom, Elizabeth “Betty” Ellen Knights Thomas passed away December 5, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona, with family at her side.
Betty spent much of the prior day telling and re-telling her favorite tales, reminiscing about family members and friends, singing a song or two, and being grateful for the presence of family.
Betty was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 12, 1930 to Francis and Elizabeth (Graham) Knights.
She is survived by and leaves a legacy that will forever shine through her children Teri (Mark) Anderson, Edward (Darlene) Thomas, Ann (Stephen) Ross, and Joellen (TC) Brown. Along with her children, Betty leaves behind many loved ones including 12 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and 5 great-great grandchildren. She will also be missed by her half-sister Beverly Stackman, her nieces Karen Saunders, Betty Saunders and Barbara Saunders, and her cousin David Cleary, together with many other family members.
Betty was preceded in death in 2019 by her husband Lloyd A. Thomas, with whom she shared over 68 years of marriage. She was also preceded in death by her parents and her sister Frances “Frannie” W. Saunders.
Betty graduated from Sommerville High School, then attended Lesley College. While at a get-acquainted dance at Lesley College, she met Lloyd, who was at nearby Harvard University pursuing graduate geology studies. They married in 1951, loaded up their belongings in a Studebaker, and headed west. On the journey across country, she began counting things of interest, but soon realized there were way too many cows to count. This began her lifelong habit of counting and recording anything and everything she saw while traveling. This trip also started what her children lovingly call her “well documented life”, as she took notes of things seen, people, places, dates and times. Basically who, what, when, where and oftentimes, why of her daily life, a habit which continued all the way to her last week.
Betty and Lloyd lived in Hanover, New Mexico, then relocated to Superior, Arizona, before finding their way to San Manuel, Arizona. Her time in San Manuel was where she made her biggest impact in life, outside of her family, spending 22 years as the school librarian at Avenue B Elementary School. Affectionately called “E.T.” by the students, she had an influence on many lives as the result of reading to them in the library “snake pit” or directing them to books reflecting their passions. Betty also spent many years keeping busy in the community. She was a Sunday School teacher at the Community Presbyterian Church, where she also sang in the choir and served as an elder. She was president of the San Manuel Library Board as well as president of the San Manuel Historical Society. She also was the “weather girl” for the San Manuel Miner newspaper, keeping daily and copious records of the local weather. She was an avid reader, piano player, crossword puzzle solver, bridge player, bird watcher, star gazer, and
loved photographing the desert sunsets. None of this happened though, without her lipstick on, which continued until our final goodbyes.
A special celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church located at 801 McNab Parkway in San Manuel, Arizona. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Community Presbyterian Church of San Manuel at P.O. Box 679, San Manuel, AZ 85631. The family deeply appreciates being lavished with the shared memories of our Mom, the thoughts and prayers of others.
A life well lived, full of laughter, love and a whole lot of feisty; we miss you, Mom.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elizabeth Thomas, please visit Tribute Store