A Tribute to Pearl Thoma

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Pearl Thoma Picture

Pearl Thoma passed peacefully to her heavenly home on July 9, 2015, surrounded by her husband and family.

Pearl Mae Jespersen Thoma was born in September 1924 in rural Paso Robles, proud of being a third generation resident of San Luis Obispo County.  She was the only daughter in a family of seven, born to parents State Senator Chris N. and Jennie C. Jespersen. After graduating from Templeton High School and attending San Luis Jr. College for one year, she subsequently received her Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State College in Education, earning an Elementary Teaching Credential and graduating with “Very Great Distinction.”  She taught one year in San Jose before returning to San Luis to teach three and a half years at Emerson Elementary School.

Pearl met her future husband of nearly 69 years, Clarence W. “Bud” Thoma, in 1945 on a blind date. They were married on August 10, 1946, in Paso Robles. Pearl and Bud were a good team; they built their own house, raised a family of four children, and built Thoma Electric Company, a successful electrical contracting business. She and Bud were true partners in both the business and in life.

Pearl left her family with the knowledge that she had lived a rich life and had no regrets. She always said she was rich in what mattered – her family, her faith, and her friends. Pearl was always the first one to pitch in and help wherever the need. She was the ultimate working mother who did it all, attending all of her children and grandchildren’s events, even joyfully attending her son’s wedding this past May. Mom – you will truly be missed, but you taught us all the most important parts of life – the importance of your family, how to love and give of yourself, and how to be a better person.

Pearl was preceded in death by her parents; her four brothers: Lawrence, Francis, Robert and Chris Jespersen, and a daughter-in-law, Jennifer Thoma. She is survived by her loving husband of nearly 69 years, Clarence W. “Bud” Thoma; her daughters, Jean (John) Usilton and Sheryl (Jim) O’Neill; her sons, Bill (Linda) Thoma and Ed (Lori) Thoma, and her sister-in-law, Virginia Jespersen. She is also survived by her grandchildren: John, Kristin, and Tracy Usilton, Andy, Brian and Tim O’Neill, Jeff (Alexis) and Jessica Thoma, and Dylan Thoma, and by many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the caregivers at Bob and Corky’s Care Home for their loving care of Pearl, along with doctors Steve Sainsbury and Nelson Yamagata.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Pearl’s memory may be made to any of the following:  Chris Jespersen Memorial Society (251 Grand Ave. San Luis Obispo, Calif., 93405), Alzheimers Association (3232 So Higuera Ste 101A, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 93401), Central Coast Hospice (253 Granada St., San Luis Obispo, Calif., 93401), or any charity of your choice.

Visitation will be held at Reis Chapel on Thursday, July 16 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.  Graveside Services will be held on Friday, July 17, at the San Luis Obispo Cemetery at 11:00am. A Memorial Service will be held at Zion Lutheran Church on Saturday, July 18 at 11:00am, with a reception to follow.

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