Jeanette Armentrout Thomas, the widow of legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas (one of Walt Disney’s renowned “Nine Old Men”), passed away on Saturday September 29th, from age-related illnesses, at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. She was 91-years-old. Jeanette was prominently featured in several documentaries directed by her son, Theodore Thomas, including Frank & Ollie, and Walt and El Grupo. She was also a long time docent at Pasadena’s historic Gamble House, and authored an acclaimed 1989 book called, Images of the Gamble House: Masterwork of Greene & Greene.
“My mother was beautiful, poised, accomplished, but would become a bit incredulous if we would point out any of these qualities to her,” recalls Ted Thomas. “She took a deep, empathetic interest in the lives of her children, relatives and friends, and our triumphs as well as our stumbles were felt just as much by her. My parents took joy in having found each other, and certainly they helped to make life stimulating and rewarding for all of us in their sphere.”
Jeanette was born in 1921 and raised in Greeley, Colorado where her father was Vice President of the Colorado State College of Education, now the University of Northern Colorado. She attended Stephens College in Columbus, Missouri, and then received her bachelors’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University. She taught in California secondary schools and at the Colorado State College of Education during World War II, and in 1946 married veteran Disney animator Frank Thomas.