Alyce Thomas, 98, of Macomb, died at 11:55 p.m., Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at McDonough District Hospital, Macomb.
She was born October 14, 1910 in Macomb to Walter and Rosa Dorgan Thomas.
She is survived by two nephews, Jack and Richard Thomas; a very close cousin, Jack Baldridge, New Port Beach, Calif.; several great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by one brother, Francis “Sam” Thomas; one sister Eleanor Crabb; one cousin Jerry Baldridge; and two nephews.
She graduated from Macomb High in 1927 and Western Illinois University in 1931. She took training and graduate studies to become a certified teacher of the deaf at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf affiliated with the University of Pittsburg and additional work at Western Reserve University in Columbus, Ohio. She taught at the Illinois State School for the Deaf in Jacksonville from 1933-1949. She then went to the Arkansas State School for the Deaf in Little Rock where she was the supervising teacher of the primary departments, both oral and manual.
In 1953 she went to California to become the principal of both the Middle and Upper Schools at the new California School for the Deaf at Riverside, which would provide education for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in the eight southern counties of California. In 1955 the school had grown so much that the Middle and Upper School were separated. She stayed with the Middle School which had a new name, Junior High.
She also did special work with the Leadership Training Program at San Fernando State College. This program was designed for persons striving to become principals or superintendents. She retired in 1971 staying in California. In retirement she taught speech in special classes in the Program for the Deaf at Riverside Junior College
She was active in community work having delivered “Meals on Wheels” for several years and serving on the City Board. She also taught classes for Senior Citizens in speech-reading and dactylology as well as corrective speech. Miss Thomas had numerous articles published on teaching reading and language to the hearing impaired. She also developed a color-coded language program that was used by some of the State Schools in the 1960s. She also conducted seminars at numerous conventions and summer schools for teachers of the deaf. While at Western she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi; during her years in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois she was a member of Mu Iota Sigma, a fraternity for teachers of the deaf. In Arkansas she was a member of the Pilot Club. During her whole career she was a member of the convention of American Instructors for the Deaf and the Alexander Graham Bell Association.
In 1958 She was honored by the 48 Superintendents of the American School for the Deaf. She was chosen to represent the American Teachers of the Deaf at the International Congress on Deaf Education in Manchester, England while there she had the opportunity to visit schools for the deaf in England. Miss Thomas moved back to Illinois in 1997. She was a member of St. Paul Church, Macomb.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at St. Paul’s Church, Macomb.
Visitation will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009 with Monsignor Richard Pricco officiating. Memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Church or the Alumni Association of the California School for the Deaf, 3041 Horace St. Riverside, CA. 92506.