Cleo M. (Miller) Thomas born on August 7, 1926 in Eldora, IA and passed away on February 2, 2023 at the West Ridge Nursing home in Knoxville, IA at the age of 96. She passed away of old age complications. Private family services will be held at a later date.
She is survived by her son Raymond (Cathy) Thomas and her daughter Hazel (Tom) Wadle both whom live near Melcher-Dallas. She is also survived by her six grandchildren, Don Thomas, Tim Thomas, Rich Thomas, Ann Thomas, Adam Wadle, and Ash Wadle. She was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years Art Thomas and grandson John Thomas. She has one surviving sister Barbara Garrett living in Marshalltown who is 86 years of age.
Cleo was born, raised and went to school in Eldora, IA. She finished the eight grade and eventually went to work in Fisher’s canning factory. She married Art Thomas when she was 21 years old. After they were married they lived in Marshalltown, IA in a trailer. Art always told the story that the next day he got up at six o’clock and went squirrel hunting with buddy Dick Drew. Eventually they rented a farm north of Marshalltown and milked cows and raised pigs. Cleo worked endlessly helping Art with farm work besides taking care of house chores and two small kids.
In 1964 Art & Cleo bought a farm south of Melcher, IA located at what is now 478 Virginia St. Lacona, IA. At that time they continued to milk cows and raise pigs. Eventually they would sell the milk cows and just raise pigs.
In 1971 they sold their farm and rented a house on the east side of Columbia, IA. Cleo spent her time taking care of Hazel’s Adam while Hazel worked at the VA in Knoxville. Art spent his time working for Phil Clark driving a truck delivering hogs to Marshalltown. After a couple years of that he went to work for Henry Becker raising pigs and farming with Cleo by his side again choreing and taking care of Hazel’s two boys and Henry’s granddaughter. They lived in a farm house east of Newbern.
About 1978 Art and Cleo moved to Melcher and Art went to work at 3M in Knoxville. Cleo again was still taking care of kids. Besides her two grandkids several other neighborhood kids spent the day at her house eating and playing games. Cleo had endless energy and patience taking care of kids and helping them with there homework. Without her dedication to taking care of Adam and Ash, Hazel would not have been able to work all those years away from home. Cleo would keep them during the day Monday through Friday and then want them to come in and stay the night on Sunday. She said she missed them. Her and Art basically raised our two boys from a few months old until they were old enough to stay by themselves. We give all the credit to Art and Cleo for raising such good grandkids.
Besides everything else Cleo did she always was willing to cut up rabbits, squirrels and pheasants that Art or the grandkids shot and there were plenty. She always cooked food for our family gatherings even though she wasn’t going to be there. She did that just to help us out. She was very generous giving out a few dollars if you were going out to eat or to some kind of entertainment.
Cleo’s son Ray was probably the most important thing to her. She loved him so much and he made her smile just being around her. Was fun to watch.
Cleo was one of the hardest working women of her time. She would deliver baby pigs and calves, carry milk in buckets to the cooler and scoop manure. Think about how she started with a wood cook stove and wood heating stove. No water inside the house and an outhouse instead of an inside bathroom. No washing machine. Just think about what some men and women have to have to be happy today versus what a lot of men and women of that era lived without! Incredible!