Joan E. Thomas, 81

Joan E. Thomas, 81, of Bethany Beach, Del., formerly of Kensington, Md., passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, surrounded by her two daughters, at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford, Del.

A native of Michigan, she lived and worked in Maryland, and for the past 17 years, Bethany Beach had been her home. Thomas graduated from the Detroit Business Institute prior to moving to Maryland, where she worked at the then-Atomic Energy Commission and for 11 years as the executive assistant to the director of development at Georgetown University Medical Center.

After retiring and moving to Bethany Beach, she reentered the work force as the development assistant to the executive director of the Beebe Medical Center Foundation, until her second retirement. In those two positions, her primary responsibilities included prospect management, identification and cultivation of prospects and coordinating sponsorship and underwriting efforts for major fundraising events.

Thomas was a member of the Friends of the South Coastal Library Board of Directors and co-chair of the library’s successful $2.5 million campaign to rebuild and expand the existing facility. She had been a member and committee chair of the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour committee, a major fundraising annual event supporting the library programs.

Thomas was a committee chair and past president of the 500-plus-member AARP South Coastal Delaware Chapter, which works to identify and stimulate chapter involvement in essential social needs or projects in the community. She was a member of the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, assisting with their fundraising efforts. She had volunteered as an ambassador for the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

Thomas is survived by her two daughters, Susan Aubertin and her husband, Charles, of Rockville, Md., and Judi Miller and her husband, Joel, of Kensington, Md.; six grandchildren, Molly Miller, Michael Aubertin, Lucy Miller, Gregory Aubertin, Jackson Miller and Douglas Aubertin; and several close friends who helped and brought comfort to her family over the past few months.

Services were to be held Jan. 2, 2020, with visitation at Melson Funeral Services in Ocean View, Del., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 2 p.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bethany Beach, Del. Interment will follow on Friday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 13801 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Md. In lieu of flowers, the family suggested memorial contributions to the American Breast Cancer Foundation ( Condolences may be sent online at