Most great grandmothers go by the name Nana or Gramma, but not Mary Margaret Burke Thomas. To her great grandkids, she was known as Pink Grandmom. Why Pink? In the 1980’s, long before the rock superstar Pink came on the scene, Mary Thomas’ granddaughter Edie Marie Thomas had an age old problem: “What do I call my other grandmother, you know, the one who wears pink?” And the new name was born.
Along the way, Mary and Jim had three children: Col. James (Jim) Arthur Thomas, Jr, retired (Robin), Kathryn Ann Jordan (Kirk), and Michael Edward Thomas (Nery). Those children owed their parent’s love to a relationship lasting 54 years that started with a shared Baptismal gown, a three-date courtship, and a marriage ceremony with a fainting priest on May 11, 1946.
Mary was the third of six children born to Harry and Gertrude Burke. Her early years in Galesburg, IL were formed by the Great Depression and her Catholic faith. She completed 16 years of Catholic education, graduating with a degree in mathematics from College of St Francis in Joliet, IL in 1941. Following her graduation, she was employed in the bookkeeping department of the phone company in Galesburg. As World War II progressed, she served as a hostess at the local USO.
Mary started married life in Santa Monica, CA, and followed Jim’s career to Oklahoma, Texas and Connecticut. She loved traveling and making new friends. Her sweet nature and beautiful smile made putting down roots an easy task. Mary was a homemaker and teacher of 7th and 8th grade math in Texas and Connecticut.
Mary loved her role as a grandmother of nine grandchildren: Sean (Jen), Jeff, Meagan (Jeff), Colin (Kelly), of Brian (Kathy), Meg (Sam), Edie (Robert), Michael (Stephanie), and Christopher (Angel) and as Pink Grandmom to her 22 great grandchildren and two great great-grandchildren.
Mary and Jim were avid golfers. One of her greatest accomplishments on the course was achieving a hole-in-one on the 3rd hole at Kingwood Country Club on 7/19/1985, where she was a lifetime member and one time President of the Kingwood Women’s Golf Association. A further example of her absolute love of golf was her email address golfadicts @AOL.com. She played golf until she was 90 years old, but she still had an amazing ability to put away the putt! Mary also enjoyed bridge and was a member of several bridge clubs.
Mary attended daily Mass and felt like it was the very best way to start her day. As an active member of St Martha Catholic Church and St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Humble, she spent many years volunteering at both churches. She faithfully showed up each Monday morning to count the collections of the weekend Masses.
Visitation will be held from 10am-12pm on August 24, 2023 at St Matthew Church, 535 Sneed Rd W, Franklin, TN 37069 followed by a funeral Mass. Interment will take place in Houston, TX at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to St Vincent DePaul Society c/o St Martha Catholic Church in Porter, TX or St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Humble, TX.
Funeral Mass Live streaming available at https://www.stmatthewtn.org/