Christian 02

Janet Mae Thomas

January 19, 1938 ~ August 23, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


Billy Graham once said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Because of the love and mercy of Jesus, Janet Mae Thomas became more alive on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. This day also marked the 65th anniversary of her marriage to the love of her life, Bill Thomas. She was 85 years old.

On Jan. 19, 1938, Jan was born to George and Mildred Lewis in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in Park Ridge, Chicago, and Owatonna, Minnesota, Jan enjoyed playing with her brother (Dick Lewis), cousins and friends. A Midwesterner at heart, some of her favorite early memories included sliding off the garage into a giant snow pile, skating at the Delphia Skating Rink, spotting cardinals (her favorite bird), and cheering on the Chicago Cubs. Jan graduated Maine Township High School and proceeded to study dental hygiene at Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago, where she graduated and met her best friend in life, Bill.

In 1958, Jan married Bill and moved to Winslow, Arizona, where Bill served in the United States Public Health Service as a dentist for the Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Tribes. In 1961, Jan and Bill moved to Billings, Montana, where they practiced dentistry and raised their three children. Jan actively participated in the Billings Junior League during this time. As a family, Jan and Bill often went skiing, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, white water rafting, ice skating and canoeing the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and also the Smith and Missouri Rivers. Many of these activities they continued into retirement. After raising her children, Jan began her second career as a dental hygienist and worked for Billings-area dentists.

In 1982, Jan and Bill moved to the family ranch in Hobson, Montana, and established the Hobson Dental Center, where they practiced together until their full retirement. These years practicing dentistry in Central Montana were some of the most fulfilling years of their careers.

Jan’s retirement years were filled with time spent with their five grandchildren, raising Black Angus cattle, and spending time outdoors. Public service was also a large part of Jan’s retirement years. While Bill served in the Montana State Legislature, Jan served as a lobbyist to establish Montana’s first dental hygiene school, the Montana School of Dental Hygiene, located in Great Falls, Montana. Jan served on the Montana State Board of Landscape Architects and the Montana CASA GAL Board of Directors as a child advocate. Jan was also deeply committed to teaching dental hygiene to children and was often in schools all the way from Billings to Hobson working with children on how to properly brush their teeth.

Jan had a compassionate heart and a mission to share her love of Jesus with young people and was involved with Young Life/Campaigner groups. Along with Bill, Jan was a longtime leader of the Hobson community youth group. Jan’s favorite scripture: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jan is survived by her husband of 65 years, Bill. She was preceded in death by a son, Jeff. She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Dick and Cleo Lewis of Billings, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Chuck and Karen Thomas of Hobson. Jan is also survived by her son, Mark (Karen Oja) of Billings, and daughter, Sheri (Keith) Derks of Hobson, along with grandchildren Austin, Taylor, Cole, Whitney and Evan, and nine great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are being held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, at the family ranch in Hobson: 444 Springdale Lane. A graveside service at Philbrook Cemetery and lunch will follow. Guests are asked to wear Chicago Cubs gear or colors (red, white, and blue) and to bring their own lawn chairs. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Jan’s name to the Shodair Hospital in Helena, Montana, or contributing to the Stewart and Catherine Scholarship at the Central Montana Foundation, Lewistown, Montana.

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Funeral Service
August 30, 2023

10:30 AM
Thomas Family Ranch
444 Springdale Lane
Hobson, MT 59452


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