December 13, 1909 ~ October 9, 2007
Ople May "Sunny" Frye Thomas (97) passed away Tuesday, October 9. She was born and raised in the southeastern corner of the Texas Panhandle on a ranch in Wheeler. Sunny and her older brothers Jack and Don attended school in the one-room Red Rock Schoolhouse.
Both of her brothers became pilots in their late teens, Jack eventually rising to the presidency of TWA and co-designed the Constellation aircraft with Howard Hughes. At 12, the precocious Sunny drove a contingent of family members from Wheeler to Santa Ana, California where she lived first with her Grandparents. During her senior year she moved in with her father William Henry and her older brother Jack in Los Angeles; there she graduated from Freemont High School.
Following graduation Sunny took secretarial classes as the Frank Wiggins Trade School and worked as manager in several dance studios including Fanchion & Marco and Nico Charisseâ€™s in Hollywood. Sunny married musician Mel Lowe in 1929 they had one daughter Patricia Joan and divorced in 1932. Sunny met Les Thomas an actor and stage manager while working with Nico Charisse, they married in 1938, living first in Gardena and then moving to Hermosa Beach in 1953. Les taught Stagecraft at El Camino College and toured with as stage manager with many professional companies as well as a childrenâ€™s theater group. Sunny often traveled with Les was active in the Republican Party and tended her grandchildren as often as possible.
She had a marvelous green thumb, there are still 3 over 50 year old fuchsia plants on the property that she transplanted from her Gardena home, she was an avid reader, loved doing the daily crossword and keeping up with her many family members.
Nano, as many of her grandchildren called her, loved to entertain and the Hermosa home became the hub of family activity as well as the designated holiday spot. Everyone that was able, along with friends new and old, gathered there for Christmas Eve - a tradition that will be difficult to maintain without her centering presence. Nanoâ€™s support for education and happiness at everyoneâ€™s achievements made private chats with her a must at any event. Nano would sit in her big pink velvet chair in the corner of the living room where everyone took turns sitting and catching up with her.
Sunny She was an elegant woman full of love, she was a gracious, caring person who brought light into everyoneâ€™s life, just as her name implies. Until Sunny left us there were 5 generation of women in the family. She is survived by her daughter Pat Felix and step-son Bill (Diane) Thomas, grandchildren, Suni Johnson, John Felix, Greg, Mark, Scott and Chris Thomas and Donna (Corky) Carroll, great-grandchildren, Melanie, Robert, Nick, Taylor, Jennifer, Christopher, Abby, Ian, Erin, Xander, Summer and River, and great-great granddaughter Solaris Gia Bell. Also survived by numerous loving cousins and friends.
Preceded in death by Mother, Nellie Frye and Father, William Frye, Husband Les Thomas, and Grandson Don Felix. A graveside service will be held at Green Hills Memorial Park on Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 2:00 P.M.
Donations in her name can be made to Les Thomas Musical Theatre Scholarship Fund at El Camino College.
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