Mildred Elizabeth Dafeldecker Thomas, age 87, left this life peacefully on Thursday, February 2, 2012. As a devoted and loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend she was blessed with four children; Tamara Thomas Green, Neil Patrick, Brian William, and John William Sr. (Bill), eleven grandchildren; Donovan, John Jr., Brett, Colleen, Lauren, Dylan, Patrick, Justin, Brianna, Jordan and Connor, and three great grandchildren, Riley, Brody, and Kylie, with another great granddaughter due to come into this world next month. Born in Jamaica, New York, Mildred came from mainly Swabian German stock, but felt especially drawn to...
Mildred Elizabeth Dafeldecker Thomas, age 87, left this life peacefully on Thursday, February 2, 2012. As a devoted and loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend she was blessed with four children; Tamara Thomas Green, Neil Patrick, Brian William, and John William Sr. (Bill), eleven grandchildren; Donovan, John Jr., Brett, Colleen, Lauren, Dylan, Patrick, Justin, Brianna, Jordan and Connor, and three great grandchildren, Riley, Brody, and Kylie, with another great granddaughter due to come into this world next month.
Born in Jamaica, New York, Mildred came from mainly Swabian German stock, but felt especially drawn to her Irish lineage that for her represented the independent spirit and love of life that characterized her own approach to living and loving. Mildred called herself Micki to reflect this attachment. Between the ages of 4 and 15, Micki lived with her parents and older sister, Dorothy, on a small farm in northern New York State. In this way, they avoided the deprivations of the Great Depression, a period that taught her the values of rugged individualism, hard work, and self-reliance. They were values she passed on to her children, along with her love of reading and education (she had, for example, Brian reading Marcus Aurelius and Thoreau at 11). Micki's fondest memories from this period included spending time out on the local lake in a row boat with her dog, a female collie named Fluffy. Her love for nature and the rural life are reflected especially in her sons Bill and Neil, both living on ranches today. Along with the great outdoors, as a young child Micki enjoyed poetry and theater, and was especially proud of a wooden castle her father built her when her class studied Ivanhoe.
At age 15 her family moved to New York City, to the German Quarter, where she studied at Julia Richmond. After graduating, at age 18, she met the man who would change her life, Cornelius Francis (Neil) Thomas IV. They married soon after, living for a time in Laguna Beach while Neil was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton. Neil would remain her partner for sixty two years, until his death in 2003. The two loved to dance, travel, and attend costume parties. Together they motor homed across the country and made a number of European trips. Living with enthusiasm to her marriage and faithfulness to her family Micki converted to Catholicism from the German Lutheran Church. With a convert's zeal, she ensured all her children had a firm Catholic upbringing, sending them to Catholic schools.
Micki's and Cornelius's families, as fate would have it, knew each other well, all being members of the then thriving German community in Astoria between the two world wars. After leaving their Astoria brownstone with daughter Tamara, they moved out to Long Island, eventually settling in the first ever American experiment in suburban living - Levittown, specifically Hicksville, New York. After their first two children had left the house at Seven Angle Lane, Mildred, upon seeing a house with a pool in Phoenix Arizona in Life Magazine for $6,000, drew on her independent spirit and became the driving force that would resettle her family in a healthier climate in the Valley of the Sun; in 1970 a sleepy city whose prosperity was based on copper, cattle and citrus. During this time, Mildred was also mother to two foster children, Michael and James. These brothers were two of the twenty four foster children that Micki's heart was large enough to include with her own.
Mildred was especially proud of her service as a "Rosie the Riveter" during the war years at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach. As a homemaker, she supplemented her income as a show room manager in New York's Garment District, where she was proud of her daughter Tamara who went on from modeling to becoming a stewardess for Eastern Airlines. It was a job then that was the height of glamour and made Micki proud. Later in Phoenix Micki worked as a marketing surveyor and as an elder care provider, jobs she thoroughly enjoyed and was extremely proud of. She also tried her hand as an entrepreneur, opening a small store in Phoenix called "Micki's Treasure Chest", across from the VA hospital on Van Buren Street in the early and mid-seventies. Her career path proved her life's motto - "You can do anything!" Mildred never really retired, working into her early 70's when her last elder care patient passed away. She then worked full time as a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother maintaining balance of travel and the care of her beloved pets, garden and home.
After the death of Cornelius, Mildred moved to Port Hueneme, California to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She was a firm believer in natural cures and advised all not to use medications of any sort. This, along with a good diet, never using tobacco, plenty of walking and fresh air, left her free of illness and in extremely good health up until her death. In her 80's she made long journeys, including to Panama twice visiting her son Neil and to Germany twice visiting her son Brian, where at 83 she dove head first from a dock into a lake, and rowed a boat.
Mildred, Micki, lived life to the fullest, and was a fiercely loyal mother and wife. She lived the values of free thinking and faith in God she taught, and served as an example to all of the power of love and the importance of family. In her later years, she was a true source of wisdom, counsel, and unconditional love. Her loss leaves an irreplaceable gap that can never be filled. She is predeceased by her beloved husband Cornelius, her sister Dorothy, and her grandson John William Jr. May the angels and saints accompany Micki on her latest journey and may Christ Our Lord receive her.
A memorial service will be held 1:00 P.M., Saturday, February 11, 2012, at the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura with The Reverend Dan Hull officiating. Reception will follow at The Embassy Suites Mandalay Bay, Oxnard.
In lieu of flowers, please mail a donation to: Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, RCIA program, 1300 East Valley Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93108, Attn: Maribel.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home and Crematory. Condolences may be left at TedMayrFuneralHome.com.