Wedding Photographer

Frances Jean Thomas December 2, 1926

Lifelong Islander Jean Thomas passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on February 8, 2022. She celebrated her 95th birthday on December 2, 2021.

Jean was born in Bellingham, WA on December 2, 1926, the daughter of Marvin S. Allyn and Esther I. (Swanson) Estaunsne Allyn. Soon sister Marjorie joined the family, and while the girls were in their youth, the family moved to Seattle.

Growing up in the Magnolia neighborhood and graduating from Queen Anne High School, Jean began her love of journalism. She attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. where she was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and the intramural debate team.

On July 26, 1949, Jean married Lyman W. (Tommy) Thomas Jr. in Seattle. During their early years of marriage, they lived in Mountlake Terrace, Walla Walla and Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. They welcomed their daughter Kathy and in a few years their son John. In the Seattle area, they owned and operated Lyman’s Printing and Stationery. While in Walla Walla, Jean had connections with the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. On Whidbey Island, Jean wrote a column for the Oak Harbor News.

In 1955 the family moved to Santa Barbara, California. where Jean and Tommy owned and operated the West Beach Motor Lodge motel. The family grew in California and welcomed another daughter, Suzie, and another son, Mark.

After 12 years in California, their yearning for the Pacific Northwest led to a move to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island where they published the Friday Harbor Journal from 1969 to 1975. During this time Jean was a writer, part-time photographer and editor. During the Journal years in 1973, Jean may have been instrumental in helping a group of islanders from Orcas and many others from all over the islands save the beautiful stone tower built by the CCC ( Civilian Conservation Corps) on Mount Constitution demolition. She wrote an op-ed that, thankfully, was picked up by AP news services, bringing much-needed attention to the situation. Eventually, with the help of so many, the tower was saved and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Later, she bought the Girl Friday Service business. Jean became a wedding photographer, freelance journalist and author of stories published in national children’s magazines.

Jean loved nature, boating, swimming and ice skating. She loved photography as well as theater and music. She served as regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was an accomplished genealogist. She was a member of the yacht clubs of Seattle, Santa Barbara and the San Juan Islands, and was also a member of investment and professional clubs.

In 1976, to overcome her fear of flying, Jean got her pilot’s license and flew the Cessna she and Tommy owned. She even got her instrument rating. Jean was a member of the San Juan Island Pilots Association. She was also a member of The Ninety-Nines, Inc.®, International Organization of Women Pilots.

Jean helped found and volunteered for many years at the original The Animal Protection Society – Friday Harbor. The group of friends first rented a few dilapidated chicken coops on Wold Road, due to their combined concern for abandoned and homeless animals.

After a twelve-year residency in Anacortes, Jean returned to Friday Harbor to be closer to family and friends. Jean loved life and the people around him. She loved good stories and also knew how to tell them. One of her greatest joys was spending time with her grandchildren, having many fun adventures with them, and watching them grow into adulthood. Over the past three years, she has been blessed with three great-grandchildren.

Jean is predeceased by her husband Tommy, and her son John, as well as her sister Marjorie. She is survived by two daughters, Kathy (Frank) Rouleau, Suzie Thomas, as well as her son Mark Thomas, two nieces Janet Johnson and Diane Knaupp, and grandchildren, Dustin (Paula) Rouleau, Nathan (Ashley) Rouleau, Lana (Jason) Culman, Zack (Dani) Smith, as well as her great-grandchildren, Brandon Scribner, Bristol Halverson, Nathan Rouleau, Lucy and William Culman.

At a later date, the family will hold a private memorial. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to The Animal Protection Society – Friday Harbor.

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