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Lavon Thomas

Lavon Thomas, of Mount Ayr, IA, died after a short illness on July 21, 2013 at Mercy Hospice in Johnston. Narcissus Lavon, named for her grandmother, was born to William and Mary Scott (Richardson) Burchett on May 1, 1913 in rural Ringgold County, IA, and was welcomed by four older brothers, Charles, Hugh, Cleo, and Howard Burchett. At the age of five, her family moved from the farm into the town of Kellerton. She attended Kellerton Schools graduating in 1931. That summer she enrolled in a normal training course in Red Oak and earned a teaching certificate.
Her parents moved back to the farm to try to save it from foreclosure, and she taught near there at Shady Grove country school. Shortly after her mother's sudden death in 1932, she stopped teaching and began keeping house for her father. She met and fell in love with Donald Thomas and they were married on March 18, 1936. The stories of their courtship and marriage are some of the family's favorites.
Lavon and Donald lived near Hatfield, MO, and Ellston, IA before moving to their farm south of Mount Ayr where they raised their three daughters. Lavon loved being a farm wife and mother and was never too busy to miss a Saturday night in Mount Ayr, church on Sunday, neighborhood club meeting, card parties with friends or an opportunity to put on her high heels and go to a dance or perform with the Ringgold Singers. She was a member of the Rebekah Lodge and the First Christian Church. When her daughters became older she worked part time in the Ben Franklin Store and then at the Shamrock Café. After Donald's death in 1980, she enjoyed traveling by bus with groups of friends from Bethany and Mount Ayr.
Survivors include daughters and sons-in-law Judy and Jerry Lee of Ankeny, Jinny Tagatz of Des Moines, and Jill and Gary Davis of Des Moines; granddaughters Traci Ross, Jennifer (Jim) Campbell, Elizabeth Stephenson, Nicole Ross, Teresa Hutchinson and Carrie (Jim) Sunderman; great-grandchildren Jessica, Cole and Blake Hulett, Miranda (Shawn) Hetrick, Jeran Gilge, Jacob and Jack Campbell, Chantel Young, Brenna, Taylor and Emily Stephenson, Ashley Weir, Danielle Wolinski, Jo Stephens, Brianna Hutchinson and Jadyn Sunderman; great-great-grandchildren Hayden Koch, Holden Rettler and Maybeline Hulett; sister-in-law Helen Brant; nieces Joy Pierson, Marguerite Hecker, Goldie Wilkerson and Vickie Crockett; as well as great-nieces and nephews, cousins, neighbors and friends.
Despite living through some of the most difficult times in this country, the stories Lavon told of her life were never about hardship but were all about fun - being spoiled by four older brothers, living a charmed childhood in Kellerton, enjoying her first away-from-home experience at normal school, riding her horse to her teaching job, flirting with, courting and marrying Donald, picking and packing fruit in Oregon and California, driving mud roads in Model A's, raising three daughters, entertaining the granddaughters and great-grandchildren, gathering for family reunions and savoring deep friendships. Lavon maintained her own household in Mount Ayr until moving nearer her daughters in Des Moines this past October. She enjoyed a full and healthy life and was blessed to be able to celebrate her 100th birthday with many relatives and friends this past May.
A memorial fund has been established to the Christian Women's Fellowship (CWF) at the First Christian Church.

  • Open Viewing

    July 24, 2013
    12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Family Will Be Present

    July 25, 2013
    12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

    First Christian Church

    201 W. Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Funeral Service

    July 25, 2013
    2:00 PM

    First Christian Church

    201 W. Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Burial

    Thursday July 25 2013

    Rose Hill Cemetery

    Hwy 2 & 169
    Mount Ayr, IA

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lavon Thomas, please visit our flower store.


Leave a condolence or a memory.

Posted by Vickie Crockett - niece   July 20, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

So sorry to hear about Lavon. She was a very special friend of our family. Lots if fun and had so many interesting stories. She will be missed by many. So wonderful that she made it to 100 and could be on her own for most of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Janet (Barker) and Jim Knedlet

Posted by Janet and Jim Knedler - Berryton, KS - Family friend   July 24, 2013

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Our Mother, Edna loved Lavon and thought she was the prettiest girl at the dance. Our family enjoyed her wonderful stories, her cheerful manner and great sense of humor. She was one of a kind. "The Gibson Kids" Myrna, Marcia, Gary, Elaine, and Mike.

Posted by Elaine Gibson Raines - Slater, IA - cousin   July 24, 2013

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

I felt pretty because my Aunt Lavon told me I was! Never mind that later I noticed she told everyone that! That just proved that she saw the beauty- whether it was the beauty within, the beauty waiting to emerge, the faded beauty, or the beauty that could be cultivated and encouraged with a little advice. She always had a smile ready and the greatest laugh ever.
Made you want to live up to whatever beauty she saw in you!

Posted by Vickie Crockett - Bainbridge Island, WA - niece   July 22, 2013

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Friends and Family uploaded 1 to the gallery.

Friends and Family Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM