Susan  Thomas
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Obituary of Susan Thomas

Susan gave generously of herself. This compassionate artist and scientist was so quiet and unassuming that few of us knew the full extent of her accomplishments or activities.  She never liked talking about herself, but she lived a life of principles and courage. She was guided by her spiritual convictions and constantly challenged herself to overcome what she felt were her own limitations.


Susan was the daughter of Forrest B. Davidson and Lois (Miles) Davidson. Her father Forrest was known for his optical company, Jenkel Davidson. Susan was born in San Francisco and raised in Los Altos. She was a graduate of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Santa Clara University.

She held a BA in Zoology from UC Berkeley, a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, a Masters in Biological Sciences from Stanford, and an MBA from Santa Clara. For many years she worked as a risk analyst at Failure Analysis Associates in Palo Alto. Before that, she worked for Sunset Magazine as a researcher. She was married to John H. Thomas, professor of biological sciences at Stanford University, from 1966 until his death in 1999.


She will be deeply missed by her sisters, Jeanne Kline, Novato, CA and Jane Hills., Tiburon, CA. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews: Catherine Hills (Audrey Borden), Barbara Kline (Keith Smith), Jim Kline (Robin Trimble), Peter Kline (Marcia Stuermer), Robin Kline (Lisa Beskin) and grandnieces and nephew: Josie Borden, Jennifer Smith, Madeline Smith, Sierra Kline and Jesse Kline.


She was very involved in her community. She was a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto. She swam regularly and practiced martial arts. Her volunteer work included the Stanford Hospital Chaplaincy Department and at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.


Susan was well known and loved in her neighborhood for being a friendly and kind-hearted neighbor. Her walks with her dog Duffy (and before that Wiggins) brought her into contact with many neighbors, connections she deeply enjoyed and gave her life great meaning.  Other pursuits included ceramics, weaving, sewing, travel, her cats Kitty Poo II and Kitty poo III and piano. She traveled frequently with her sister Jane, on Stanford Alumnae cruises.


Susan’s sudden loss has been a shock to us all.  She was shy, funny, analytical and kind.  She loved her friends and family.  She saw and admired the best in us and we deeply feel her absence.


In lieu of flowers please make a donation to any charity that contributes to the protection of the environment or animal welfare.