Obituary of Carla Diane Thomas
Carla Diane Thomas, age 80, of Crest Hill, passed away August 9, 2022 at Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, Joliet, IL. She was born July 18, 1942 in Valier, IL, the daughter of the late Louise (nee Malle) and Carl Phelps.
Carla was a person with a deeply kind heart and a love for all people, especially children. She was a self-proclaimed introvert who didn’t like talking to people, but those who loved her knew the real truth: she never met a stranger. She had a gift for talking to anyone and everyone, always reaching out to that person sitting alone to befriend them and make them feel welcome, whether it was at her church, a family gathering, or even the dollar store (which she loved).
Her love of children led her to become an elementary school teacher for 32 years, eventually earning a Master’s degree in Gifted Education from Aurora University. Even after retiring from District 86 in Joliet, she continued to tutor children who needed it--not for money, but just because she knew how much the extra support could help them grow. She was also a Sunday School and an adult ESL teacher for the last several years; she only gave it up when she became too ill to go to church regularly.
Her greatest passion, however, was her family. She was a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, and especially mother. She and her sister Sandra raised their children together, and they lived together for over 70 years, even staying roommates in college at SIU. Her love for and patience with children often led “Aunt Car” to spend more time with them at family gatherings than she did with the adults, although she was an entertaining competitor on game nights. She felt that all the children in her family--especially her daughter--were gifted in one way or another; anyone who gave one of them a hard time was “just jealous”. If she offered to watch the kids, you could be confident that she would be arriving with stories and activities to entertain them. She also loved buying things for the family, whether it was a favorite treat or a toy she saw that she just knew a niece or nephew would love. She rarely bought things for herself, however, more than happy to make do with wobbly furniture or a laptop in two pieces--often despite the best efforts of her family to get her something new. Those things didn’t bother her; she was far more concerned about the people around her than she ever was for herself. She will be deeply missed.
She is survived by her daughter, Melinda (Jeff Duckworth) Thomas; sister, Sandy Hopper; brothers, Ron (Michele) Phelps and Tom (the late Bernadette) Phelps; dear nephew, Colin (Ashley) Hopper; nieces, Marie Phelps, Anna (Tim) Perry, Kris Phelps, and Lynn (John) Hammel, and several beloved great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her former spouse, Bob Thomas.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to World Vision or the American Cancer Society are appreciated.
A Memorial Visitation for Carla Thomas will be Wednesday, August 17, 3:00 until the time of Memorial Service at 6:00 p.m. at Church of the Good Shepherd, 2437 Plainfield Road, Joliet, IL.
For those unable to attend in person, please click on the link below for the Church of the Good Shepherd's live stream of the service. https://www.facebook.com/COGS.Cov
Interment will be private.
For more information, please call (815) 741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com.