|Birth: ||Dec. 13, 1909|
|Death: ||Oct. 9, 2007|
Los Angeles County
Name: "Sunny Thomas," in cemetery records
Ople Mae "Sunny" Frye Thomas, lived to celebrate 97 birthdays (and celebrate life she did!) She was born and raised in the southeastern corner of the Texas Panhandle on a cattle ranch in Wheeler. Sunny and her older brothers Jack and Don attended school in the one-room Red Rock Schoolhouse. Both of her brothers became pilots in their teens, and pioneers in the aviation industry. Don formed the Frye Aircraft Company, copyrighting a nationwide system of schools to properly train personel for the aircraft industry, and Jack rose to the presidency of TWA and co-designed the Constellation aircraft with Howard Hughes.
At 12, precocious Sunny drove family members from Wheeler, Texas to Santa Ana, California where she lived first with her Grandparents. During her senior year she moved in with her father William Henry and her older brother Jack in Los Angeles; there she graduated from Fremont High School. Sunny spent her spare time at the nearby Burdett airport, which was at Western Ave and 104th Street in Southwestern Los Angeles, and enjoyed many thrill rides in a small plane piloted by her friend Paul, a daredevil stunt pilot. Following graduation Sunny took secretarial classes at the Frank Wiggins Trade School and worked as manager in several dance studios including Fanchion & Marco and Nico Charisses in Hollywood.
Sunny married musician Mel Lowe in 1929; they had one daughter and then parted ways in 1932.
In 1938 Sunny married Les Thomas an actor and stage manager, living first in Gardena and then moving to Hermosa Beach in 1953. Les taught at El Camino College in Torrance, CA and toured as stage manager with many professional companies as well as a children's theater group. Sunny often traveled with Les, was active in the Republican Party, and spent time with her grandchildren as often as possible. She had a green thumb, was an avid reader, loved doing the daily crossword puzzle and keeping in contact with her many family members.
Sunny loved to entertain, and her Hermosa Beach home became a center of family activity as well as the holiday spot for family and friends. She would sit in her big pink velvet chair in the corner of the living room (see photo) where everyone took turns sitting and chatting with her. "Sunny was an elegant woman full of love; she was a gracious, caring person who brought light into everyones life, just as her name implies."
When Sunny passed, there were an amazing 5 generations of women in the family. And Sunny dearly loved her adoring family. She was survived by her beloved daughter Pat, step-son Bill, grandchildren, Suni, John, Greg, Mark, Scott, Chris and Donna; great-grandchildren, Melanie, Robert, Nick, Taylor, Jennifer, Christopher, Abby, Ian, Erin, Xander, Summer and River, and great-great granddaughter Solaris.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Nellie and William Frye, brothers Don and Jack Frye, husband Les Thomas, and grandson Don Felix.
Credit: Edith Guynes Stanley provided links to Sunny's parents, full name, and an obituary, which was helpful to GreenHills Stones Calling in writing Sunny's biography. Information for her biography was also obtained from reading Randall Reynolds' Sedona Legend Helen Frye website (highly recommended reading), a link for which is found on his profile page.
Read more about the life of Sunny Frye Thomas beginning at page 1909 of the website Sedona Legend Helen Frye, created by Randall Reynolds. (More about brother Patrick "Don" on page 1906, and Jack on home page & throughout)
See also the memorial for Sunny's sister-in-law, Helen Virginia Varner Frye (Jack's wife)
William Henry Frye (1884 - 1965)
Nellie Frye (1884 - 1912)
Ernest Leslie Thomas (1901 - 1967)
William John "Jack" Frye (1904 - 1959)*
Patrick McDonald Frye (1906 - 1942)*
Ople Mae Frye Thomas (1909 - 2007)
Green Hills Memorial Park
Rancho Palos Verdes
Los Angeles County
Plot: Vista Verde, 293, A
Maintained by: GreenHills Stones Callin...
Originally Created by: Warren Weimer
Record added: Jun 28, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 72150294
One of the highlights of my life was when we met at your home in Hermosa Beach. I remember you Sunny as one of the dearest and most gracious of ladies. That is your legacy, everyone in the family adored you and you enriched the lives of many, including me...(Read more)|
Added: Sep. 19, 2012
Rest in peace, Sunny|
GreenHills Stones Calling
Added: Sep. 19, 2012