Joan Thomas, or more commonly known as “Mrs. T” journeyed into her final and glorious home on May 6 at Good Samaritan Assisted Living here in Estes Park, Colorado. She was 98 years old, having moved to Estes Park 30 years ago to live with her son, Chris, who was director of Ravencrest Bible School and Conference Center
Joan Thomas was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 6th, 1921. She served as a nurse during WWII, until she was married to Major Ian Thomas in 1942. At the close of the war sensing the spiritual hunger and need in Europe they wanted a “big house in the country” where they could have lots of young people come and hear about Jesus. In 1946 they purchased Capernwray, “the castle,” in northern England, and the ministry of Torchbearers International began.
This ministry (of which Ravencrest is a part) expanded around the globe and has impacted the lives of tens of thousands, introducing them to a personal relationship with the living Christ. As someone said, Joan Thomas was a part of something so big, yet always lived simply, one day at a time. Her delight was in serving, whether it was cooking for 200 guests at the castle in England, or sharing a cup of tea and encouragement in her living room in Estes with all who came her way.
“Mrs. T” had a natural curiosity about birds and flowers, and “all creatures great and small.” She loved the Word of God and introduced many to the wisdom of its pages, becoming a mentor and spiritual mother through her very practical faith. She was always optimistic about life, and was often heard saying, “Worse things happen at sea! ”
On her final day, she said with confidence, “I am going to see Jesus! I am going to see Jesus!” She displayed incredible courage and resolve as she journeyed “Home.” We believe she would call back to us, “Keep coming; keep trusting; keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.”
She leaves behind four sons, Chris (Estes Park), Mark (England), Peter (Australia) and Andy (Canada). They have given her 11 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service may be held in the future at Mountain View Bible Fellowship where she was a member. Gifts in her memory may be given to Ravencrest Chalet in Estes Park.