OBITUARY

Virginia Sullivan Thomas

May 15, 1927January 7, 2020
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With her loving family by her side, Virginia Sullivan Thomas danced into heaven on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at the age of 92, joyously reuniting with husband, Fred, numerous relatives, and many wonderful friends she dearly missed. Born in Brooklyn, NY on May 15, 1927 to Adrian and Aimee Sullivan, Virginia came to Lantana as a young child when her widowed mother married Paul Dunbar, owner of Ye Tower Restaurant. Virginia began dancing at age 3 and continued her studies with Grace Thomas in Lake Worth, who would later become her mother-in-law. Virginia, known as Jinny by many, met her future husband, Fred, through the dance studio. She and Fred graduated from Lake Worth High School, and were married on June 13, 1948. Virginia's education took her to New York where she studied with many dance masters, and honed her teaching skills while working with Grace Thomas, eventually taking on ownership of the studio. "Miss V" as she was affectionately called by many students, trained and mentored thousands of young dancers, many whom worked professionally and, following in her footsteps, became exceptional dance teachers across the country. She was a life member of Dance Masters of America, Parliamentarian of Florida Dance Masters, served on Palm Beach County Cultural Council Professional Artists Committee, was named a Cultural Jewel of Lake Worth, was a Certified Judge through National Dance Council of America, Member and Secretary of Palm Beach Ballet Society, and received a NAARP grant to provide dance to underserved youth in Lake Worth. She served on the developmental committee for Palm Beach County School of the Arts. Virginia remained an integral part of the dance studio when her daughters, Tami and Teri, took over ownership in 1986. Virginia and Fred taught Cotillion and Jr. Assembly to local youth, providing an appreciation of social dance and etiquette. Virginia loved her local community, and was committed to making a difference. She served as President of the Lake Worth High School Alumni Foundation, and was President of PEO, Chapter DW (Atlantis) and a member since 1973. She and her husband, Fred, were well respected members of the Palm Beach Sailing Club, and spent many summers together cruising the Abaco's on their boat, "Jin" & Thomas. Virginia loved a full social calendar; always looking forward to the next 'event.' She was a faithful and loyal servant of the Catholic Church. Virginia was predeceased by her husband, Fred "Buddy" Thomas. She is survived by her children, Tami (Richard) Valentine, Todd (Patti) Thomas, Teri (Brent) Szember, grandchildren Kristin Thomas, Heather Thomas (Chris) Caudill, Stephen Thomas, Jessica Perkins, Andrea Szember, cousin Lorraine Saunders, and her dear friend, John Adair. She will be missed by her many friends, and her dance family who loved her unconditionally. The family would like to thank the staff at Vi at Lakeside Village for their love and care. A visitation will be held Monday, January 13, 4:00PM to 6:30PM at Dorsey-E. Earl Smith Funeral Home and Memory Gardens, Lake Worth. A funeral mass will take place Tuesday, January 14, 10:00AM – Holy Name Catholic Church, West Palm Beach, with Interment to follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park. A reception will follow at Atlantis Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that remembrances be made in Virginia's honor to Lake Worth High School Alumni Foundation, 1701 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 33460 or PEO Chapter DW, c/o Joan McGirt, 6868 Bayshore Drive, Lantana, FL 33462. Gone but never forgotten. A mom to many, a legacy that will never die. We love you, Mom!

Please see the beautiful article written by the Palm Beach Post:

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/obituaries/20200108/virginia-thomas-she-taught-lake-worth-to-dance

Services

  • Gathering of Family & Friends Monday, January 13, 2020
  • Funeral Mass Tuesday, January 14, 2020
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Memories

Virginia Sullivan Thomas

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SHANNON Kopp

January 13, 2020

This makes me so sad. I grew up at her dance studio and took classes for many years. Praying for this beautiful sweet lady and her family. Never stop dancing 💃🏻 you will be missed by many.

Doris Dorsey

January 13, 2020

We loved Virginia, she would help me on anything I was doing for the Alumni Foundation, the many Hat Show meetings at our house, and the fun we had planning the different events. She would always be there to go out and visit the different businesses to ask for help on different events. She was definitely an "Energized Bunny" as Dennis lovingly called her. I know she is teaching all the Angels in Heaven to dance.

Betsy Tyson

January 13, 2020

What a beautiful life and legacy--a role model for the ages! Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures which I found very touching.

Heather Varsallone

January 12, 2020

My High School Graduation Party, 1997!

Heather Varsallone

January 12, 2020

Heather Varsallone

January 12, 2020

Heather Varsallone

January 12, 2020

Miss Virginia had a god-given gift that went beyond her natural dancing and teaching ability. She was able to see the potential in her students before they could even see it within themselves. And she created such a wonderful, creative space for all of us to grow! I would not be the woman I am today if she had not believed in me the way she did. Thank you Miss Virginia, you will always live in my heart.

Nan Locher-rountree

January 12, 2020

I just adored your mom ... I was her student in elementary school and jr and sr high at Lake Worth back when we were in the upstairs studio with her mom ! A very special memory ... Even taking notes in French of all ballet terms for tests ! Yes ... Tests ! I still have little awards for goals met on toe 💕 and pictures of recitals ! At the University of Florida I got to earn some extra money in PE dept teaching classes ! I had a giant picture of Virginia in her Swan Lake costume looking absolutely gorgeous ! Wonderful memories ... Much love to her family ... And prayers 💕🙏

Vicki Morris Bridgman

January 12, 2020

Miss Virginia was such a wonderful teacher and friend to so many.
She lived a long and beautiful life and will be missed by many.
I’m sure there is some dancing going on in heaven now and maybe even some bridge playing with old friends.
My deepest sympathy to the entire family.
Vicki “Morris” Bridgman

Holly Plank

January 11, 2020

Our family was fortunate to know “Miss Virginia” and family the past 30 years. Whether it was an imaginative acrobatics number or a Support Dance function, Virginia was enthusiastically involved. Both my daughter and I were blessed to be inspired by the Thomas ‘joy de vivre’. Through Virginia’s tireless dedication to community, education, and dance
we are all the better for having her touch our lives. Please scroll through the photos and watch the video tribute.... all are testimony to a life well lived and an abundance of caring and love!!!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
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FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY