Susan Jean Thoms died Monday, October 10, at her home in Toms River, New Jersey. Born in St. Paul’s Greenville Parish in Jersey City, she attended the Academy of St. Aloysius from kindergarten through her high school graduation in 1966. Majoring in elementary education at Jersey City State College, she first began teaching at Our Lady of Victories Parish School. Upon moving to Toms River, she continued as a teacher in the public elementary schools there, retiring in 2003.
Susan is survived by her loving sisters, Patrice Thoms-Cappello (Joseph) of Galisteo, New Mexico, and Kathleen Thoms-Bauer (John) of Bayonne. Other immediate survivors also include her devoted nephews Donal (Michelle Kohari) and Timothy Thoms-Cappello (Meredith Kirsch) and Christopher and Patrick Thoms-Bauer. Susan is predeceased by her beloved parents, Althea (nee Gilhooly) and Gerard Patrick Thoms, and her adored grandparents, May and Laurence Gilhooly.
As a young girl, Susan loved to street roller skate, ride her bike, and watch Saturday morning movies at the Loews or the Stanley Theatres at Journal Square. But she most enjoyed dancing lessons at the Shirley Connelly School of Dance, ultimately performing with Tony Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. Her love of dance and dance music, meant she was always eager to learn or to teach her family and friends new dance steps for weddings and outings. Growing up in a household of obsessive dog lovers, she was a lifelong mother to rescue dogs, many of whom were named Tina in honor of the family’s first great cocker spaniel.
For many years Susan loved to travel with her dear friends from high school and college and invited her mom sometimes too. She loved the historic aspect of travel from her first big childhood trip to Williamsburg in1955 to later summer adventures to Europe and many American and Canadian cities. Sometimes, however, her interest in history might be overwhelmed by the desire to shop for beautiful clothes or savor a great meal in surroundings that were historic. Whether a family bistro in Paris, a beignet at Café du Monde, crab cakes at Commander’s Palace, Susan could recall each trip gastronomically and in retirement enjoyed comparing the various cuisines on the cooking channels with those she had experienced as a younger traveler.
Family and friends will honor the life of Susan Thoms at her funeral on Wednesday, October 19, at the Bayonne Memorial Home at 854 Avenue C in Bayonne, NJ. A gathering from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the funeral parlor will be followed by an 11 a.m. Mass at Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich Parish at St. Andrew’s at 2 West Fourth Street in Bayonne, with interment to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, N.J.