It is with enduring love and devotion that the family of Suzonne Denise Thomas announces her passing after a months-long battle with cancer on Monday, April 23, 2018 at the age of 55 years.
Denise was born on May 11, 1962. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Denise spent her childhood and teen years heavily involved in her church and Baptist youth group where she was a beloved member, devout supporter and mentor for others. She graduated from Western Hills High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University with a focus in Juvenile Justice. Denise became keenly interested in pursuing work to help troubled youth while still in high school after learning about the profession from a friend and mentor “JJ” who was a Loss Prevention Officer with the Fort Worth Police Department. After graduation from SHSU, Denise went to work for Edna Gladney Home in Fort Worth, working with foster youth. She later moved to Victoria, Texas and worked for six years with drug-addicted youth in need of mental health services at Devereux Behavioral Services. Subsequently, she moved back to Fort Worth to work for The Bridge, Fort Worth’s Emergency Youth Shelter for homeless youth. Denise also worked for the Buckner Children’s Home in Dallas where she worked with youth who had become involved with the juvenile crime system, or whose parents were incarcerated. Denise later developed an interest in and began visiting the far northern states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and fell in love with the scenic landscapes and people of that area. She moved to Minnesota and spent the next 16 years of her life happily living in the beautiful surrounds of Grand Marais, Minnesota, working in this resort community, developing and enjoying many warm and lasting friendships, and becoming an integral part of the local community. She loved to bake and often surprised her friends and co-workers with cookies, cakes, and other baked delights.
Throughout her life, Denise was a devoted Aunt to her many nieces and nephews. She is remembered with deep love and affection by them all. Denise is preceded in death by her father, James Ray Thomas. Denise is survived by her mother, Jeni Lott Thomas, sister, Debbie Thomas Beyea, brother, Steven Thomas, sister-in-law, Melinda Wagner Thomas, niece, Jennifer Thomas Pope, and husband, Andrew, niece, Stephanie Thomas Houlihan, and husband Patrick, nephew, Phillip Beyea, and wife, Jody, nephew Zach Thomas, nephew, Galen Beyea, and nine grandnieces and grandnephews.
A celebration of Denise’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 27th, 2018, at Western Hills Community Church at 8500 Chapin Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76117. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Community Hospice of Texas, 6100 Western Place, Suite 105, Fort Worth, TX 76107, or online at https://www.chot.org/about/donate-to-us/.