Emma Thomas, 101, alumni fund director


Emma E. Thomas, retired director of the Goucher College alumni fund and a former social worker who worked in a Japanese internment camp in the United States during World War II, died of a stroke Sunday at Broadmead. She was 101.

Miss Thomas resided in the Dulaney Valley Apartments in Towson before moving to the Cockeysville retirement community in 1980.

She had been alumni fund director at Goucher from the late 1950s until she retired in 1965.

She was the sister of Norman Thomas, the American socialist leader who ran six times for president on the Socialist Party ticket and was a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Miss Thomas was born in Marion, Ohio, and spent her early years in Lewisburg, Pa., before moving to Baltimore after the death of her father in 1915.

She was a 1917 graduate of Western High School and earned her bachelor's degree from Goucher in 1921. She earned a master's degree in social work from New York University and was a medical social worker at hospitals in Boston and later at Union Memorial Hospital.

During World War II, she was a social worker at a Japanese internment camp at Hart Mountain, Wyo.

"She always felt very strongly about peace and justice issues, and during World War II wanted to ameliorate the injustices that Japanese-Americans were forced to suffer. She always felt that they were improperly interned," said a niece, Christine Thomas Dunbar of Allentown, Pa.

A self-reliant, vigorous and fiercely independent woman who drove an automobile until her late 80s, Miss Thomas also enjoyed canoeing. She continued to lead an active life after moving to Broadmead.

She had been a member for 85 years of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. In later years, she attended Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church.

Miss Thomas had been a Meals On Wheels volunteer for many years and an active member of the League of Women Voters.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

She is survived by two nephews and two nieces.

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