Marlys Gaye (Bridgham) Thomas passed away peacefully January 16, 2019, at the age of 91.
She was born October 7, 1927 in Ellensburg to William Wilder Bridgham and Blanche Arney Bridgham.
Marlys’ early childhood was spent in Olympia before the family moved to Hoquiam, where her parents worked in the grocery business. Little did she know, the young man from Aberdeen working for her Dad throughout high school, would be her future husband. Marlys loved athletics and excelled in track, many times even beating the boys. She graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1945.
She attended Washington State College graduating in 1949 with her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees. She was a member of “Fish Fans”, a synchronized swim team performing for special college events. Marlys was recognized as “Outstanding Senior in Women’s Sports” for her roles as AWS Treasurer, Sports Club President and Crimson Women’s Independent Council. She loved her years at WSC and enjoyed returning in later years for WSU football games with her family. Marlys was a lifelong “Coug”.
After graduation, Marlys began her teaching career at Ritzville High School, while pursuing her Masters degree. Upon earning her Masters of Science in Education in 1951, she taught Physical Education at Eastern Washington University. She taught at Long Beach State College (CA) in 1953 – 1955 before returning to Washington to marry the love of her life, Bob Thomas on July 9, 1955. They were married for 61 years before his passing in 2016.
Marlys and Bob spent their early years raising their family in Everett. She taught for the Everett School District at Evergreen Junior High. She was then recruited, along with other top educators in the district, to be a part of the education team at the newly opened Cascade High School in 1961. As a busy working mom, it was common to find Marlys at many of the sporting events, plays and school activities with her three children in tow. Marlys was grateful for the opportunity and cherished her ten years at Cascade as the Dean of Girls and advisor to the Girls Club.
In 1971, Marlys and Bob moved the family to their dream home in Indianola, WA.
Marlys continued her passion for helping students as a counselor at North Kitsap High School. She retired in 1995 to spend more time enjoying her favorite things, her family, especially her grandchildren, gardening, cooking, entertaining and loving her four-legged friends. All dogs knew that Marlys would have “treats” in her pocket. They brought special joy to her life.
She was “Grammie” to many more than her grandchildren. This was most evident as the family enjoyed summers at Mason Lake. Marlys referred to the Lake as “A little piece of heaven”. This cherished get-away has been in the family for over 77 years, beginning with her parents. Four generations of neighboring families continue to share a very special bond to this day. It was there she taught many to swim, garden, and cook – ending the day singing favorite songs gathered around the campfire.
Marlys is survived by her children, Rob (Pam) Thomas, Marcy (Todd) Lund, Brian Thomas, step-daughter, Shelley (Tim) Kranz; sisters-in-law Dottie Bridgham, and Sue (Peter) Overton, as well as many nieces and nephews. Her pride and joy were her grandchildren, Sam (Kari) Thomas, Parker Thomas, Jake Pedersen, Todd Pedersen, Brett Lund, Ally Lund, Jordan Thomas, Leah Thomas, Kiley (Todd) Wiley, Whitney Kranz, as well as, 3 great grandchildren and her namesake, a very dear, great niece, Marlys Bridgham.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the caring staff at Clearbrook Inn, Silverdale, where Marlys most recently resided. They would also like to thank the caring doctors and nursing staff at Harrison Medical Center, Bremerton.
A celebration of life, honoring Marlys will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers remembrances may be made to Pet Partners – Bellevue, petpartners.org/donate; or Therapy Dogs International, tdi-dog.org or your favorite charity.