Former Newcastle librarian, Kathie Thomas, passes away
She wasn’t a professional writer or an editor. However, if former Newcastle librarian Kathie Thomas could have, she probably would have had a hard time editing out all of the accolades thrown her way in the wake of her passing. There were many, to be sure.
Thomas died last Tuesday, May 28, at the age of 71. She was born Feb. 15, 1948 in Chicago to John and Ruth De-Beikus. She grew up in Harvey, Ill., where she and her sister and best friend, Linda, grew up together.
Kathie loved her older sister dearly and through the years, they enjoyed many visits together; singing, traveling, playing bingo and shopping were their favorite things to do together.
Kathie graduated from Thornton Township High School in 1966 and, shortly after, she went on to attend Lincoln Christian College. In 1970, she graduated with a Sacred Music Degree, specializing in the organ. Kathie played the organ and the piano for her church throughout her life.
Kathie and her husband, Jim, met as teenagers in their church in Harvey. They dated through high school and even attended the same college. Jim and Kathie were each other’s first and only loves. It was at Kathie’s 16th birthday party that Jim knew he would, “one day marry this beautiful girl.”
He gave her the Beatles’ 45-inch record of the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” It remained their song for over 50 years. Kathie would call Jim anytime and anywhere she heard that song. They had a special bond and a special love. On June 20, 1970, they were married in the church where they first met.
In 1976, Kathie and Jim moved to Oklahoma where they raised their three daughters - Wendy, Noell and Rae-Ann. Eventually they settled in and made their home in Newcastle. On Feb. 18, 1988, Kathie joined the staff of the Newcastle Library.
Kathie managed the Newcastle Library for nearly 30 years. Kathie was more than just a librarian, though. She helped many generations of people learn to read, use the computer, study for school - and would even proctor college exams.
She genuinely loved to help people and encouraged them to be their best self. She established the “Read to a Dog” program at the Newcastle Library that was eventually adopted by all of the Pioneer Library System.
Kathie enjoyed serving on the board of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and being a part of the Friends of the Library organization. She made many wonderful memories and lasting friendships through her work in the community. In addition to working for the library, she was the president and CEO of Gyro Gold.
Kathie was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Nothing made her smile more than to be with her family. Kathie loved to travel. She enjoyed countless fishing and road trips with her husband. Kathie loved to go on vacation with her three daughters.
They loved to go on weekend spa get-aways and shopping trips together. Her daughters could always depend on Kathie for support and encouragement. As her family grew, her grandchildren got to experience that same love.
She loved to attend their softball and baseball games, karate classes, basketball games, and singing events. She was so proud of each of her grandchildren and their unique talents. She traveled all over the country singing with a cappella barbershop harmony group in national competitions.
In her spare time, Kathie enjoyed many activities. Jim has many fond memories of playing cards with Kathie and their friends. She enjoyed paint parties with her friends and daughters. Scrapbooking was always special to her and she loved creating books filled with memories.
Kathie and her daughters enjoyed music concerts, getting pedicures and hunting for treasures at garage sales. Kathie also loved genealogy. Researching her Lithuanian heritage was important to Kathie and her girls. Kathie loved to teach her daughters and grandchildren about many Lithuanian traditions.
Kathie was a big University of Oklahoma fan. She and Jim loved to put on their OU shirts and watch games on their big screen television. Jim and Kathie loved to come home and spend evenings together watching movies and listening to their favorite music from their youth.
Kathie loved to relax with a cup of tea and sit beside Jim. Kathie had a beautiful singing voice and, as a little girl, she began singing duets with her sister Linda. As a teen, Kathie sang in church and, as a young woman, she sang in the Gloria Choir at Lincoln Christian College.
Kathie continued singing in church throughout her adult life. As a mother, she even taught her daughters to sing. Later in life, one of Kathie’s greatest joys was to sing with the women of The Sweet Adelines. She loved to reminisce about the good old days and remember how simple life was.
“Kathie was a valued colleague and friend,” said Phil Clark, who took over Kathie’s duties at the Newcastle Library. “She touched thousands of lives through her leadership at the library and in the community. Through her work to gain a permanent home for the library and her volunteer efforts with the ‘Friends of the Library’ program after her retirement, Kathie worked diligently to ensure that the library remains an important part of the Newcastle community for decades to come.”
Kathie will be greatly missed by her friends and family. She was a beautiful lady with a soul to match. She was an honest, kind and loving person. She was funny and intelligent. Kathie had a way of making people feel special.
Kathie made sure that her family knew that they were loved. She was extraordinarily wonderful. Her family is comforted knowing that Kathie is celebrating in Heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and she is surrounded by the family and friends that went on before her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Ruth DeBeikus. She is survived by her husband, Jim of 49 years; her sister Linda Koch and husband Larry; Wendy Thomas-Pomeroy and husband Johnny of Moore; Noell Shore and husband Ross of Lexington; Rae-Ann Thomas and wife Amy Lee of Moore; her five grandchildren: Kaytlen Pomeroy, Caylin Clanton and husband Walker, Camlin Dunn, Ken Pomeroy, and Lucas Thomas; and her three great grandchildren, Charleigh, Terri, and Waylon Clanton.
(Special thanks to Vondel Smith Mortuary for contributing to this article)