Thelma Gies Rivette died at the age of 102, on September 17th in Salt Lake City, where she had lived in recent years near her son Christopher Gies and his wife Meghan. She was born Thelma Irene Young in Pittsfield Township, near Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 18, 1921, the only child of Durward and Laila Young. Among her ancestors were early English colonists in Massachusetts, including Tristram Coffin, who led a group of investors in 1659 to settle on Nantucket island.
Thelma grew up in Ann Arbor and married her high school sweetheart, Thomas Gies, in September 1941, while both were students at the University of Michigan. Their first child, Laurie, was born nearly three years later, on the day Thelma earned her bachelor’s degree. Their son Thomas was born the following year. The marriage took them to Kansas City and then back to Ann Arbor, where her husband became a professor at the University of Michigan and where their third child, Christopher, was born. In addition to Christopher, her children, Laurie King of San Jose, CA and Thomas Gies of Savannah, GA, survive her.
In 1985, her husband Tom died, and three years later, Thelma married Donald Rivette and moved to suburban Atlanta. In later years, after his death, she shared a home in Georgia with her stepdaughter Cynthia Davis and her family, before returning to Ann Arbor to live in a retirement community.
Thelma was known for her intelligence and curiosity, her impeccable taste, and her gracious sociability, starting with the radiant smile with which she greeted everyone she met. She was an active supporter of animal causes and was interested in horticulture, training as a docent for a botanical garden. Music was her special joy, and she sang in church choirs throughout her life.
Besides her three children and five stepchildren, she is survived by six grandchildren—John Hodges, Mack Gies, Eli Gies, T.J. Gies, Linnea Gies and Callan Carpenter—and nine great-grandchildren. A private burial will be held in Ann Arbor.