M. DONALD THOMAS
1926 - 2019
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M. DONALD THOMAS M. Donald Thomas (Mario Donato diTommaso) was born April 21, 1926, in Bugnara, Italy. He passed away April 7, 2019, in Salt Lake City, surrounded by his family and Pastor France Davis. He lived in a one-room home in Italy until he was six years-old, when his family moved to the United States. Don earned his doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois and served as superintendent of schools in Illinois, New York, California, and Utah. He proudly served as Superintendent of Schools in Salt Lake City from 1973-1984. He was an educational consultant to three governors, to Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev and to hundreds of public school districts until late in his life including work with Jim Rogers at the Clark County School District. He continued to write opinion pieces on education for the Salt Lake City newspapers until six months ago. Don's dedication to public education earned him several awards including the Civil Rights Worker of the Year Award (1978) and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Citation (2013) from the Utah Chapter of the NAACP, the George Washington Medal for Character Education in the Salt Lake City Schools (1983), and the Educator of the Year Award from the Horace Mann League (1997). He was blessed by marriage to three talented women: Carol Ostby, Frances Gaylord and Janet Coleman. He had unconditional love for his wives, his children and his parents, Pasquale Luigi diTommaso and Rosina Manna diTommaso, who taught him to be ethical, oppose discrimination, help others, and appreciate life. He was extremely proud of his two brothers: Louis Thomas, Jr. and Andrea diTommaso, both honored educators. His greatest accomplishments in life were love and respect for his three children, Marc, Marcia and David; promotion of public education as the basis for an effective democracy; and assistance of disadvantaged children to obtain a quality education. Dr. Thomas is survived by his wife, Janet Coleman; brothers, Louis and Andrea; sons, Marc and David; daughters-in-law, Judi Simon and Nancy Allf; granddaughters, Annie Snider, Katie Husby, Elizabeth George, Virginia Hollmann, Elizabeth Walker and Kaitlyn Thomas; seven talented great-grandsons; and a special great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his parents; his former wives, Carol and Frances; and his beloved daughter, Marcia. Family and friends will be welcome to attend a celebration of Don's life at 11 a.m. Sat., May 11, at Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Don's name to Calvary Baptist Church, 1090 S. State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111, NAACP Salt Lake Branch, P.O. Box 25414, Salt Lake City, UT 84125, or to a charity of your choice.


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Published in Las Vegas Review-Journal on Apr. 14, 2019.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
MAY
11
Celebration of Life
11:00 AM
Calvary Baptist Church
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April 22, 2019
My sincere condolences to the family.
May you find comfort and peace knowing God promises a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11
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