Helen Dorothy Thomas, long-time resident of Sequim, Washington, passed away of natural causes on 12/16/2021 at the age of 104 years and 11 months. She was a resident of The Fifth Avenue Retirement Center followed by Sherwood Manor.
Helen was born in Portland, Oregon on January 10, 1917 to Elva Shank and Walter Dicken. After attending school and graduating from Portland's Grant High School, she attended Mary L. Hurst College in Portland. She married Stuart Brisbin of Portland and they had two daughters, Suzanne and Pamela. Helen was employed by Seattle University as a Secretary in the School of Education, then as Secretary for the Graduate Teacher Interview and Placement Program.
After World War II, Helen and Ben F. Thomas were married and made Seattle their home for 16 years. Then they retired to Sequim, where they enjoyed boating, fishing, crabbing and gardening together until Ben passed away at the age of 67.
Over the years, Helen had many interests. She enjoyed golf, bowling, card playing, art classes, traveling, volunteering, beach-combing for driftwood, and the art of sculpturing driftwood. She won several awards for her driftwood sculptures.
Helen belonged to the Sequim Community Church, where she was recently recognized as both their oldest and longest-running member. She was a member of the Sequim-Dungeness Hospital Guild, where she enjoyed many hours of volunteer work. Helen was also a member of Sequim Arts and the Northwest Driftwood Sculpture Association.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ben Thomas, her daughter Suzanne, her daughter Pamela Pera, and her grandchildren Nicky Pera, Nathaniel Pera and Debra Dieterich. Helen is survived by her grandson, David Dieterich, granddaughter-in-law, Kerstin Dieterich, son-in-law Larry Pera, and great-grandchildren, Alyssa Dieterich and Evan
Dieterich. David and family live in the San Francisco Bay Area and Larry Pera lives in Cave Junction, Oregon.
Helen will be remembered for her wit, grace and charm. Around her 100th birthday, when asked the secrets to a long, happy life, she shared these three golden tidbits which I've come to call Helen's Maxims: 1. Keep Moving. Keep your body and mind exercised and exploring new things. 2. Life in Moderation. Enjoy life and it wonders but know your limits and what is good for you. 3. Avoid Negative Folks. Focus on the positive in life and pass along that spirit.
Memorial Services will be held on Monday, 12/20/21 at 1:00 pm at the Sequim Community Church, 950 N. Sequim Ave, Sequim, WA 98382. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Sequim Community Church, The Salvation Army, or a charity of your choice.
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