Father Donald K. Thomas, 86, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, of 85 New Park Ave., Hartford, died on April 24, 2017, at Pointe Nursing and Rehab Center in Webster, Texas.
He was born Nov. 5, 1930, in Jermyn, Penn., the ninth of 10 children of the late Raymond and Clare (Fitzpatrick) Thomas. In 1944, he attended the La Salette Seminary in Hartford and entered the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Novitiate in Bloomfield on July 1, 1948. He made his first profession of vows on July 2, 1949. After completing his studies in the La Salette Seminary in Ipswich, Mass., he was ordained on May 11, 1957 at the former La Salette Shrine Church in Ipswich. Following his ordination, he served as spiritual director and professor at the La Salette Seminary in Jefferson City, Mo.
In 1961, he was appointed director of vocations and mission procurator in St. Louis, Mo. For the next six years he served as assistant pastor at Our Lady of La Salette Parish in Berkley, Mich., and in 1968 he began 32 years of ministry as assistant pastor or pastor of various La Salette parishes in Louisiana and Texas..
In the early 1980’s, Father Thomas served one term as councilor to the provincial of the former Mary Queen Province in St. Louis. Since retiring to Hartford in 2001, he ministered at various parishes in the Archdiocese of Hartford. In addition, Father Thomas continued to travel to assist at Mary Queen Parish in Texas each year until his death.
In addition to his La Salette confreres, Father Thomas is survived by one brother, William Paul Thomas of Pennsylvania and many nieces and nephews and their children. Father Thomas was predeceased by four brothers, Raymond, Henry, Francis and John; and four sisters, Romayne, Mariclare, Lucille and Eleanor.
Funeral services were held on April 28 at Mary Queen Parish in Friendswood, Texas. A Mass was of concelebrated on May 3 in the La Salette Chapel of Hartford House at 85 New Park Ave. Burial was in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.
Contributions in his memory may be made to: Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, 915 Maple Ave., Hartford, CT 06114-2330.