Cover photo for Christine Louise Thomas's Obituary
Christine Louise Thomas Profile Photo
1948 Christine Louise Thomas 2023

Christine Louise Thomas

April 10, 1948 — November 30, 2023



Christine L.Thomas, of Madison, WI, died peacefully on November 30, 2023, at the age of 75 from pancreatic cancer at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, surrounded by loved ones and close friends.


She was married June 20, 1970, and has lived in Madison, WI, her whole life. Chris is survived by her loving husband Charles F. (Charlie) Thomas, her two children Eric (Alexandra Salmon) Thomas and Sarah (John) Wirth, and grandchildren Leon and Margot Thomas, for whom she was always planning fun activities and overflowing with special Gramma love and care. She has three surviving siblings, Col. Thomas (Judy Frago) Dresen USA, Ret, Jim (Mary Jo, deceased) Dresen, and Mary (Al) Novotny. Her nieces and nephews are Maggie Aftahi, Matt Dresen, Emily Dresen, Kate Novotny-Owen, and Will Novotny.


She is preceded in death by her parents Richard (“Ted”) and Ila May (Jackson) Dresen and two siblings, Gregory and Richard, who died as babies.


She grew up in a house her dad built himself in Madison’s Westmorland neighborhood, and she loved to tell stories about the good times she had there, playing with the many kids running around the neighborhood, and going to Westmorland Park for Fourth of July fireworks and other gatherings.


Chris graduated from Edgewood High School and College and taught second grade at Orchard Ridge Elementary from 1970 to 1986. Subsequently, she transitioned to aging and health services, first as an outreach worker at the Middleton Senior Center and later as an activities coordinator at the St. Mary’s Adult Day Health Center on Atwood Avenue.


Chris dedicated her life to service and most recently was a board member of the Sewing Machine Project, an organization that brings sewing machines and instruction to communities in need. She was actively involved in social justice work through her church communities, philanthropic sorority, and many other charitable activities.


Her children have fond memories of her in her sewing room, laying out patterns and cutting cloth for her projects. Chris instilled a love of creative pursuits in her children and grandchildren. Eventually, her lifelong interest in quilting and sewing evolved into a profound and prolific love of fiber art. She created a dedicated home art studio, where she spent countless pleasurable hours designing and dying her own fabrics and creating a varied body of art out of textiles. She treasured the fellowship she received through her membership in several local art groups, and she exhibited her work at the Overture Center and other local galleries and venues.


Beyond her professional and artistic endeavors, Chris was a great seeker of knowledge and was passionate about reading, different cultures, spirituality, and our natural environment. Be it through her book club, cultural exchange opportunities (hosting students and traveling to study Spanish), taking classes, or conversation, Chris led by example and sought out any opportunity to learn, grow and better understand the world and her role in it.


She loved camping (having camped herself with her family growing up), walking, biking, and exploring new destinations through travel with the love of her life, Charlie, and her kids. The camping trip to Utah she and Charlie had planned for this fall was unfortunately canceled due to her illness, but the whole family has many happy memories of camping trips to Governor Dodge State Park, as well as long camping road trips to the Florida coast, the Southwest, and other destinations. She instilled a lifelong passion for exploration in her kids. Her family remembers how she liked to tap on the window during long road trips to point out things she spotted, not letting much slip by unnoticed.


Chris will be remembered for her powerful generosity of spirit, her unwavering kindness to absolutely everyone she encountered, and her unmatched dynamism in all her pursuits. To witness Chris’s social and volunteer calendar (with myriad appointments handwritten in tight script) was to be awestruck by her energy. Even later in life, she would do more in a day than the rest of us could do in a week, and then she would stay up until the wee hours finishing an art project or sewing dozens of pairs of mittens to donate to a worthy cause.


The family would like to thank Chris’s providers at UW Hospital and Agrace Hospice for their kind and compassionate care.


A celebration of Chris's life will be held at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, 1501 Gilbert Road, in Madison, on January 20. A visitation will begin at 10:00 am, and the service will begin at 11:00 am and will be followed by light refreshments.


In lieu of flowers, donations to Mary’s Pence ( would be appreciated.


Please share your memories at

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 20, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

1501 Gilbert Rd, Madison, WI 53711

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

1501 Gilbert Rd, Madison, WI 53711

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 805

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors