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Clara Evelyn Thomas, 83, of Lexington Park died Nov. 22, 2012, at her residence after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Born Sept. 15, 1929, in Pearson, she was the youngest of the eight children of the late Joseph Ignatius and Mary Ira (Smith) Thomas.

She was educated in St. Mary’s County public schools and graduated from Jarboesville High School in 1946. She graduated from Maryland State Teachers College, now known as Bowie State University, in 1950. She spent two years teaching in St. Mary’s County before relocating to Washington, D.C., and becoming a permanent resident. Her first job in Washington, D.C., was with the federal government at the Internal Revenue Service. Her desire to teach was so strong that in 1964 she began her career in the D.C. public school system, where she taught for 42 years before retiring. After retirement, she spent several years as a substitute teacher in the Prince George’s County school system. She influenced the lives of many through her guidance and teaching.

She was a devout Catholic who spent her childhood and young adult life as a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Lexington Park. In 1965, she became a member of St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. In 1989, she was accepted and installed as a sodality member. She also served on the parish council, was a member of the altar society and as a eucharistic minister.

She was also a member of the D.C. Retired Teachers Association.

She enjoyed life to the fullest. She was very stylish, vibrant and engaging. She was a devoted sister to her brother and aunt to her many nieces and nephews. Her hobbies included traveling, sewing and ceramics. She enjoyed both listening and playing music. As a child she learned to play the organ, guitar and tenor banjo.

She is survived by her brother, James Gorman Thomas; 18 nieces and nephews; approximately 200 grand-nieces and grand-nephews; many cousins; friends; and her St. Francis de Sales church family. She was preceded in death by her siblings, McDowell Thomas, Evelyn Clark, Virgie Somerville, Ogden Thomas, Geraldine Chase and Hazel Biscoe.

The family will receive friends Friday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to noon at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Lexington Park, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon. Interment will follow at the church cemetery.

Arrangements are being handled by Brinsfield Funeral Home in Leonardtown.