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Sylvia Thomas

Sylvia Blair Thomas

Monday, March 5th, 1923 - Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
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Sylvia Blair Thomas of Provo passed away on December 17 after 96 years, 9 months, and 12 days of a generous and adventurous life. She was born on March 5, 1923 in Oakley, Idaho. Sylvia was the daughter of Albert Edward Blair, Utah pioneer of 1868, and Ruth Clarissa Heward, a daughter of Utah pioneers. She was raised in Salt Lake City and graduated from South High School in 1939. During the war, she sewed her life savings into her jacket lining and took a train to Washington, D.C. to work in the Department of Commerce for Secretary Henry Wallace.

In 1953, Sylvia moved to Southern California and made her home in the LA suburb of Glendale for almost 40 years. Along the way, she had four children who were the center of her life. She volunteered her time as a PTA president and Girl Scout troop leader. Incredibly, she never learned to drive while living in California, instead taking public transit and walking everywhere while still accomplishing so much. As someone once said of her, “She can’t drive a car, but she water skis!” As her children left for college, Sylvia volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and the Hollywood Bowl. She also served in the Los Angeles Temple. At many times in her life she opened her home to those in need in their darkest hour with compassion, kindness, and understanding.

Ever the adventurer, she traveled the world with her husband Philip Dale Thomas, visiting extraordinary places like Jerusalem, South Africa, Tahiti, Greece, Jordan, China, and many more. She always kept a journal of her travels which included historical information and often amusing observations. Family and friends looked forward to each new edition of her travelogue, as they always learned something interesting, funny, or inspirational.

In 1992, after the death of her beloved husband, Sylvia returned to Utah to be closer to Sharron and Russ and help raise her three granddaughters, all of whom utterly adored her. She learned to drive at 67 and quickly took up new activities in Provo, volunteering in the community and the church. She quickly developed a close circle of friends with whom she shared fun and memorable adventures. She started and was President of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Canyon Crest Camp, and served as a docent for the Provo Pioneer Museum. Never one to shy away from a busy schedule, she was also the singles rep in her ward for 13 years, and president of the Provo Women’s Council.

Sylvia was a kind, industrious, and charming woman, quick with a joke, and every meal she ever made for her family and friends was garnished with love. She was stylish to the end, and the picture of grace in every era.

She was preceded in death by her cherished husband Phil, her grandchildren Robyn and Ryan Netz, her parents, nine siblings, beloved friends, and a choir of pets and animals to whom she was endlessly kind, including her beloved puppy companion Angie.

Sylvia is survived by her four children Warren Netz, Susan O’Brien (Fran Swanson), Jo Ann Thompson (Jeff), and Sharron Evans (Russ); stepdaughters Judy Neeson and Patti Thomas; her younger brother Ken Blair (Jeanette); granddaughters Aimee Hickman (Jared), Alissa King (Jonathan), and Lorraine Jackson (Dan), and six great-grandchildren who lit up the final years of her life: Leo, Russell, Zeke, Alice, Sylvia, and Leah.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 20th, 2019 at Nelson Family Mortuary, 4780 N. University Avenue, Provo, Utah. To express condolences visit
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, December 20th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Friday, December 20th, 2019 11:00am
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Trent Jackson

Posted at 12:29am
Dear Sharron and Russ,
Cindy and I heard about Sylvia's passing and you and your family are in our thoughts. We are so grateful that we got to know Sylvia during the past 10 years and consider her a dear friend. She was delightful to visit and we enjoyed dropping in on her at her apartment to chat. May the Lord bless you during this time. You have a wonderful family and we appreciate your friendship.
Trent and Cindy

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