Cover photo for Eleanor Kay Thomas's Obituary
Eleanor Kay Thomas Profile Photo
1946 Eleanor 2020

Eleanor Kay Thomas

November 19, 1946 — May 22, 2020

Eleanor 'Kay' Thomas passed away on May 22, 2020 peacefully at home, surrounded by her family. Kay was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, and 68, but worked tirelessly to fight it both times. However, in 2019 she was diagnosed with cancer again and after additional attempts to battle the disease, decided to stop treatment in 2020. Kay was born November 19, 1946 in Sioux City, Iowa at St. Vincent's Hospital and was adopted by her parents Joseph and Ruth Yender. Kay and her family later moved from Iowa to Santa Maria, California in 1960 where Kay attended Santa Maria High School before moving to Sacramento in 1967 to attend Sacramento State University. She graduated in 1970 with a degree in Business Administration. During her college years she met James 'Spider' Thomas, and the two were married several years later on August 25, 1974 at First Methodist Church in Downtown Sacramento. Kay dedicated her life to public service working for the California State Employees Association as Director of Member Benefits, retiring after 42 years. Kay is survived by her husband, Spider, her son Jason, and her daughter Alyson (and her husband Adam), her step-daughter Shannon (and her husband Larry, and their children, Aidan, Landon, and Natalie), her brother, Edward F. Yender (and his sons, Robert and Matthew Yender), as well as her entire extended Thomas family in Winters. Later in her life Kay was able to reconnect and establish relationships with her birth mother, Irene Chatlos as well as her half-siblings; Lea Adams (and her husband Gary), Lynn Goncalves (and her husband Charlie), Donna Mentana (and her partner Nick), Kenneth Chatlos, and Robert Chatlos. Kay was a vibrant and active person in her community; she was passionate about the amazing life and network she built in Sacramento. Kay was a dedicated wife, mother, and friend often stating that her relationships were the source of all things good in her life. Kay not only left a positive impact on everyone she interacted with, but often inspired hope and resilience with her endless optimism and fortitude during times of immense challenge and uncertainty. Her generosity, kindness, and energy were unparalleled, as evidenced by the tremendous outpouring of love and reminiscences from her friends and relatives as she reached the end of her life. Kay's life and accomplishments are a true legacy, and so, she will be celebrated by her friends and family to acknowledge her many contributions to the people around her. During this time of uncertainty with group gatherings, details for the service will follow. Please find more information as the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic progresses through Caring Bridge at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kaythomas2.

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