Theodora Louise (Howes Thayer) Edwards passed away peacefully in hospice care on July 10, 2021, surrounded by her family. She was 96. Born in June 1925 in Vineyard Haven to Theodore C. Howes and Nellie (Johnson Conklin) Howes, Dora, as she was known, grew up on Skiff Avenue in Vineyard Haven, the second of six children. She graduated from Tisbury High School.
After graduation, she was employed as a telephone operator at the Vineyard Airport, where she met her future husband, Scott Thayer, who was serving in the U.S. Navy. They were married in 1945 and had four children over the years: son Robert and daughters Lynn, Patricia, and Barbara. They moved several times after living in Vineyard Haven, including locations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, before settling in Rockville, Md., in 1968, where Dora worked with Scott at GEOMET, Inc., helping to start that new company.
Dora moved to Tucson, Ariz., in 1976 (after separating from Scott) to be near her sister, Martha Howes Doane. While in Tucson, she met and later married Bob Edwards. (Dora and Scott divorced in 1978.) She earned certification as a medical assistant and worked in a podiatrist’s office, assisting with foot surgeries, which she found fascinating. She and Bob moved to Sierra Vista, Ariz., in 1984 to enjoy the quiet life. Dora moved back to Tucson in 1994, after Bob passed away, to be close to daughters Trish and Barb. In later years, she enjoyed spending time with family, gardening, and keeping company with her feline companion, Sunny. In 2019 she moved to El Rancho Encanto Assisted Living in Tucson, Ariz. Her final days were spent at Peppi’s House at Tucson Medical Center, TMC Hospice.
Dora dearly loved her family and was a big part of her grandchildren’s lives. She always enjoyed gardening, whether with a large yard in Rockville, Md. — the first to win Yard of the Month in her neighborhood — or in her courtyard in Tucson, Ariz. She also loved Big Band music, old movies, classic books, and watching PBS.
Dora is survived by her daughters Lynn Gilley, Trish Thayer, and Barb Thayer; her grandchildren, Elizabeth Sanderson, Amy Gilley, and Daniel Thayer and his wife Melissa; her sister-in-law Rosemary Howes, her brother-in-law Louis Bourgault, six great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Dora was the last surviving member of her large Vineyard family, including parents Theodore and Nellie Howes; brothers Robert, Richard, and Theodore Howes; and sisters Mary Howes Bourgault and Martha Howes Doane. She was also predeceased by her son Robert Thayer, husband Bob Edwards, and former husband Scott Thayer.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date on Martha’s Vineyard. Donations in Dora’s name may be made to her favorite charities: Habitat for Humanity or World Wildlife Fund; or to Peppi’s House at Tucson Medical Center, TMC Hospice, tmcfoundation46605.thankyou4caring.org/TMCF.