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Mary Alice Howe Thomas, MD

Mary Alice Howe Thomas, MD

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Dr. Mary Thomas, 95, died shortly after the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Day, 2018, at Fairmont Nursing Home in Breckenridge Village, reuniting with her husband of 50 years, Royal Thomas, MD. She was born in Trenton, OH, on April 23, 1922, to Wilbur and Elfriede Howe. Growing up in Bluffton, OH, Mary attended Bluffton College where she met her future husband, Royal Thomas from Albion, NY. They graduated and married in 1943. Both attended Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, graduating in 1947. Mary was one of ten women in a class of 350 medical students. Mary and Royal were accepted at Huron Road Hospital for their residencies in Internal Medicine and OB/GYN respectively. Mary completed her residency in June 1950, giving birth to their first child that month. She started her practice in Cleveland, OH, while her husband was stationed in Great Falls, MT, as an obstetrician in the Air Force during the Korean War.

Dr. Mary was active staff at Huron Rd Hospital from 1950 – 1987. She was Assistant Director of Internal Medicine from 1975 -1987. She was the Medical Director of Mt. St. Joseph Nursing Home from 1976 – 1993. Dr. Mary held numerous offices (Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Student Membership, Chairman of Scholarship and Loan Committee, Constitution and By-Laws, Medical Education Committee, Counselor of Growth and Development) of the American Medical Women’s Association, as well as President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Women’s Medical Society of Cleveland. She served 15 years on the Board of Trustees of Women’s General Hospital and 6 years on the board of Judson Park Retirement Community. Dr. Thomas was on the Speakers Bureau of the American Cancer Society from 1980 – 1993.

Dr. Mary Thomas received the following recognitions: Distinguished Service Award from Huron Road Hospital (1980); Outstanding Woman Physician Award from Cleveland Women’s Medical Society (1987); Special Honors Award from Cleveland Academy of Medicine (1991); Executive Minister’s Award of the Cleveland Baptist Association for Excellence in Christian Faith and Service (2006).

Besides her professional career, Dr. Mary was a Girl Scout leader for 8 years. She was active in American Baptist Women’s Ministries, having served as president of the Lyndhurst ABW Ministries and the greater Cleveland ABW Ministries. She was a member of Lyndhurst Baptist Church and served on their Board of Trustees, Stewardship Committee, and chairman of the Mission Committee. She held the office of Church and Community Coordinator of the Ohio State ABW Ministries.

Dr. Mary served on the Metropolitan Ministries of the Cleveland Baptist Association and in 1996 was a guide member of the Youth Empowerment Project of Cleveland Baptist Association. She was a committed partner to two at-risk youths for over a year.

She was the first chair violinist in both the high school and college orchestras. Mary’s love of music was expressed with her beautiful alto voice. She was a very involved resident at Breckenridge Village for 15 years, participating in all types of activities.

Dr. Mary was an avid traveler. She visited all 50 states and more than 25 countries. Her most memorable trip was after her 79th birthday, when she went to Antarctica and walked with the penguins!

Dr. Mary was pre-deceased by: her husband, Royal Thomas; her parents, Wilbur & Elfriede Howe; her brothers, Roger and James Howe; her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Howe; and her brother-in-law, James Gratz. She is survived by: her sister, Jane Gratz; her sister-in-law, Wilma Howe; her children, Leigh (Linda) Thomas, MD, Bari (Libert) Pinto, and Kay (Michael) Hoon; her 7 grandchildren, Trent (Leslie) Pinto, Tomasina (Adam) Green, Rachel (Brandon) Garling, Zachary (Kelsi) Thomas, Lindsey (Brent) Gilbert, Connie (Kyle) Beaty, Briana (Justin) Smith; her 9 great-grandchildren, Audrey Pinto, Andrew Royal Pinto, Kaylee Gilbert, Madison Gilbert, Leland Beaty, Piper Smith, Nathaniel Green, Grace MaryAlice Green, Delaney Garling; and many other nieces, nephews and their families.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Dr. Mary Thomas to Hospice of the Western Reserve 17876 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland, OH 44110 or to Ohio Living Breckenridge Village Cultural Arts 36855 Ridge Road, Willoughby OH 44094. An open house celebration of her life will be Saturday, April 14, 2018 (1 pm to 4 pm) in the Austin Room at Breckenridge Village, Ridge Road Willoughby, Oh. Private Burial will take place in Bluffton, Oh. Cremation by DeJohn Crematory. Arrangements by DeJohn~Flynn~Mylott Funeral Home and Crematory of Willoughby Hills.


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  1. To Dr. Mary family.
    Please except our deepest sympathy.
    May the God of peace guard your hearts.
    Thinking of you.

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