Cover photo for Mary Dee Thomas's Obituary
Mary Dee Thomas Profile Photo

Mary Dee Thomas

July 21, 1948 — January 22, 2024

Mary Dee Thomas

***The service recording is posted below the obituary.***

Mary Dee (Hoegh) Thomas passed away peacefully in her room at Caring Acres Nursing and Rehab Center in Anita, Iowa, on Monday, January 22, 2024, at the age of 75.

She was born in Carroll, Iowa, on July 21, 1948, the daughter of Raymond Nels and Ethel Marie (Clemsen) Hoegh.  Her childhood as an only child was mostly spent on the farm where she enjoyed her cats, dog and horse and spending summers with relatives.  After graduating from Exira High School in 1966, she attended the American Institute of Business (AIB) in Des Moines to learn secretarial skills.  Mary Dee was a very fast and accurate typist which helped to secure future jobs.

On March 1, 1969, she married Dennis Lee Thomas of rural Atlantic.  The couple lived in Ames following their marriage while Dennis earned his degrees at Iowa State University.  Her typing skills were a big help during this time in helping on his research papers and dissertation.  

After graduation they moved to Clemson, South Carolina, where Dennis worked at Clemson University and she worked for attorneys.  Three years later they moved to Creston, Iowa, where she started what she always said was one of her more challenging jobs, managing a hotel.  Even with no training in this type of work she successfully made it a more attractive and profitable business.  The couple moved back to Dennis’ hometown of Atlantic in the early 1980’s, and Mary Dee was employed at the Atlantic News Telegraph and J & R Tax Service.

Mary Dee had her first stroke in 1994, which left her paralyzed on the left side of her body and a second stroke 25 years later that led to the loss of most of her vision.  In 2023, she was diagnosed with cancer.  Through all this Mary Dee rarely complained and made the most of each day!  Prior to her strokes she enjoyed playing softball and basketball, bowling, fishing, target shooting and shooting pool, all most of the time with Dennis by her side.  At each of the houses they lived she had a room for sewing and craft projects where she spent many hours.  She was an avid fan of the Iowa State Cyclones and Kansas City Chiefs.  Mary Dee liked to watch westerns and would often sing-a-long with the theme song.

She was blessed by the friendships she made with the Atlantic Public Library staff, the home health care aides that visited her home, the staff and residents at Caring Acres, and the St. Croix Hospice staff.  Mary Dee maintained a life-long friendship with Jill (Jespersen) Brown, who was her best friend in grade school.  As an only child she treasured all of her friendships and considered some of her female friends as her “sisters” because growing up she always wanted siblings.  

Mary Dee is survived by her husband of 54 years, Dennis Thomas; many cousins including Dale (Linda) Nelson, Glen (Janet) Nelson and Jan Kinnison; sister-in-law, Joan Thomas; and nieces, Amy, Lara, and Chris; and great-nieces and nephews, Lucy, Quinn, Cole and Noah.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Ethel Hoegh; parents-in-law, Albert and Gladys Thomas; and brothers-in-law, Loren Albert Thomas and Roger Dean Thomas.

Visitation with the family present will be held from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Thursday, February 8, 2024, at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, February 9, 2024, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Atlantic.  Immediately following the service lunch will be served in the fellowship hall.  The service will be recorded and available on the funeral home website by end of day Friday.  A private burial will be held at a later date in the Oak Hill Cemetery, west of Brayton.  

Memorials may be directed to Dennis for later designation to charities that were close to Mary Dee’s heart.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Mary Dee’s family and her arrangements.   Condolences may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Dee Thomas, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation with the Family Present

Thursday, February 8, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Funeral Service

Friday, February 9, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am

St Paul's Lutheran Church

1011 E 13th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Oak Hill Cemetery (West of Brayton)

, Brayton, IA 50042

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