Jana Darlene Thomas
Inspired educator, devoted friend and beloved aunt, Jana Darlene Thomas left this world too soon on June 2nd, 2021. She will be long remembered for her compassion, generosity, selflessness, and tenacious spirit.
Jana was born on May 8, 1962 at Enumclaw Hospital, the youngest child of Jake and June Thomas, longtime residents of Enumclaw. She graduated from Enumclaw High School and continued her education in God’s County at Washington State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education. From there, she attended Gonzaga University for her master’s in education.
Teaching was Jana’s calling — she taught for 37 years in the Auburn School District, starting with kindergarten, and finishing at Auburn Mountainview High School as the ASB advisor for her final years. Through her lessons, Jana empowered her students to pursue their lives and studies with service and kindness front of mind, encouraging each to act mindfully and for each other. She also taught swimming lessons for decades at the famous Thomas Family Pool, starting when she was in high school herself.
Jana loved to travel and was often found in the Caribbean when she was on much-deserved teacher school breaks — usually in the islands of Aguilla with friends at her favorite restaurant, Blanchards. Each year, the day after Thanksgiving was reserved for the annual making of tunbröd, a Swedish flatbread she grew up making with her mother and sister, and was carried on famously by her niece, Jamie. Her affinity for cooking, catering, and hosting was endless and her meals often featured crab, fondue and recipes from celebrity chef Ina Garten. She loved her dogs, nieces, and nephew above all else, which earned her the moniker of a “kid-up” versus the dry title of “grown-up.”
Jana was preceded by her mother, June Thomas, and several of her trusted golden retrievers. She is survived by her father, Jake Thomas; her sister and brother-in-law, Jody and Randy Emerson; her brother, Jeff Thomas; her nieces, Jamie Emerson, Kaytee Johnson and Erin James; and her nephew Kyle Emerson.
The Jana Thomas Memorial Scholarship has been established in her honor in which each year, a selected leadership student from Auburn Mountainview High School will be given a $1,000 scholarship. For donations, please email Jody Emerson at email@example.com.
Jana’s celebration of life will be held Saturday, July 10, from 2-6pm at 1901 Florence St. in Enumclaw. Her family encourages friends and loved ones to leave a memory and/or photos of Jana at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/LWi5RJKi.
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