Carolina Nieto Thomas was born January 10,1931 in Presidio, Texas to Jose Antonio and Angelica Garcia Nieto. She entered into her eternal rest on July 22, 2018 after a brief illness.
Growing up in the rugged arid region surrounded by the Davis Mountains of West Texas known as the Big Bend proved to lay the foundation of her character for the entirety of her life. She possessed unshakable loyalty intertwined with a stoic self-reliance and independence. Her parents instilled the core values by which she lived: love of family, abiding faith, ancestral pride, a strong sense of duty, and the continual quest for higher learning and self-improvement. As a teenager, she left Presidio to attend Our Lady of the Lake High School in San Antonio, Texas. She boarded there during high school and continued to attend Our Lady of the Lake University for her undergraduate studies.
She enjoyed an active social life and participated in several student organizations while studying for her undergraduate degree in Library Science. As a newly minted teacher she began her career in San Antonio; soon afterwards, she was introduced to a young Air Force Captain named Bill Ray Thomas by a mutual friend. They would wed eight months later on July 7, 1954, in Waco, Texas. Their union endured until his death in 2015. After starting their family in Salina, Kansas, with the birth of their son Michael, Carolina and Bill moved to Dallas, Texas. Bill began studying for his CPA exams and they welcomed their second child Kenneth. Carolina began her full-time tenure with the Dallas Independent School District after the birth of her last child, Angelique.
Over the course of her career she taught in the classroom, assisted in the development of the bilingual education program and was head librarian in multiple schools. Carolina was a prolific reader and historian. She loved the history of West Texas and Mexico and would often speak of her family lineage, including her ancestors who pioneered the La Junta and Big Bend region of Texas. Throughout her adult life, she would return to her hometown each summer for extended visits, and these visits would energize her before she returned to her teaching post in the fall. After many years of teaching, when most of her contemporaries were slowing down, Carolina made the time to pursue and obtain her Master’s Degree from Texas Woman’s University. She became a reading specialist, which was a natural fit. Her dedication to her students went beyond the classroom. She served as a mentor and role model to her students, and many of her students still credit her unwavering support and encouragement as the reason they pursued a college degree.
Carolina impacted hundreds of children over her four decades as an educator. She carried with her into the classroom the qualities that were etched into her persona during her own formative years, by her father, a rancher who spent his limited free time serving as a civic leader and advocate for all people, and by her mother, who served as the cornerstone of the family of seven, and stressed quality and elevated standards in all aspects of one’s life. Once retired, Carolina involved herself in the family business, enjoyed her hobbies and finally had ample time to devote to her love of reading. She loved music, art, fashion and her extensive collections of books, pottery, antiques, religious art, and objects of interest. Deeply sensitive to the needs of all living things, she adopted and fostered a variety of pets, ranging from kittens to baby squirrels and, on one occasion, a baby doe found abandoned out in a field. Carolina had a kind and loving heart.
She now is reunited with those she loved and is resting in eternal peace with a joyful heart. Carolina is survived by her siblings, Delma Bradford, of El Paso, TX, Blanca Rosenheim, of San Antonio, TX, Minerva Cadena, of Dallas, TX, and Antonio Nieto, of San Antonio, TX, as well as by her daughter, Angelique, her son-in-law Lee C. Reagor, MD, and her granddaughters, Carolina, Jacqueline and Olivia. She is preceded in death by her husband Bill R. Thomas and sons Michael L. Thomas and Kenneth A. Thomas, and by her parents, Jose and Angelica Nieto, her in-laws, Otho E. and Edith Thomas, and her sister- and brother-in-law, Loretta and Joseph Lovell.
Mass and internment will be held Friday, August 10, 2018 , at 11:00 am at Calvary Hill Funeral Home 3235 Lombardy Lane Dallas, Texas 75220.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society and Operation Kindness.