Zenta Laimdota Liepaskalns Thomas, 84 of Reading, Pa passed away on Saturday, November 24, 2018 in her beloved home of almost 60 years.
Inspirational role model, inveterate exerciser, lover of nature, spirited dancer, world traveler, intrepid gardener (and pick-axer), loving wife & mother…Zenta was born at home in a remote, idyllic farmhouse in Ape, Latvia in 1934. She grew up herding sheep with her many dogs and her pet pig, playing in mystical forests and hanging with the crazy neighborhood cat lady. She was displaced and orphaned by the events of World War II and spent from years 10 to 15 in Germany. At 15 she emigrated to the United States, relocating to Janesville, Illinois where she finished high school. Following high school, she enrolled in nursing school in Madison, Wisconsin where she met her husband-to-be while they were both on the campus of the University of Wisconsin/Madison where he was teaching, and she was studying for her RN degree and taking dance classes.
As a student of the world and lover of language (she was fluent in three languages) and literature, she earned an RN from the Madison General Hospital and later went to on to earn a BA and MA in Russian from Kutztown University.
For much of her career she worked as a registered nurse at the Reading Rehabilitation Hospital and later in her career was instrumental in helping to launch the first American Medical Center in Moscow, Russia where she worked for over a decade as a nurse/translator, brilliantly marrying the two professional disciplines she was trained in.
Zenta was pre-deceased by her husband, Dr. Alfred K. Thomas. She is survived by her two daughters and three granddaughters. Zenta Lee Thomas and husband, Samuel R. Sakocius, Bangkok, Thailand. And Amanda Kate Buxbaum, Bethesda, MD, and her three daughters,
Samantha Kate Buxbaum, Denver, CO, Elizabeth Lee Buxbaum, Bethesda, MD, and Jessica Avery Buxbaum, Bethesda, MD.
Visitation with family and friends will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am with a celebration of love and her life will be offered beginning at 11:00 am in Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. 2100 Perkiomen Avenue Reading, PA 19606. Interment will be Private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Opportunity House, 430 N 2nd St, Reading, PA 19601. Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit www.LutzFuneralHome.com