Constance Trower Thomas (Connie), age 84, of Ithaca, passed away peacefully on September 26, 2014 at Cayuga Medical Center, following a short period of declining health. 

Raised in Trumansburg, she was the only child of Charles Wesley and Margaret Slater Thomas. A graduate of Trumansburg High School, she went on to earn a degree in biology from Cornell University.  She earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was working on her Ph.D. until her father’s death required her to return to Trumansburg to care for her mother.  While at Wisconsin, she was involved in some of the early discoveries in the fields of microbial genetics and molecular biology. Upon her return to this area, she was employed in microbiological and genetics research at Cornell University until her retirement in the early 1990’s.

During retirement, Connie drove Gadabout buses for 18 years as a volunteer, making friends throughout the county; on other days, she could be found at the Cornell Plantations, happily weeding, planting, or doing whatever was needed in the gardens. Connie was an outdoorswoman throughout her life, active in the Sierra Club, the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, and with Cornell Outdoor Education programs. She was an avid canoeist and backpacker, and leading wilderness trips in all parts the United States was one of her favorite activities. She loved nature and cared for the environment long before it became a popular thing to do. Connie loved animals and shared her home with her beloved cats throughout her life. Connie was staunchly independent, incredibly bright and witty, quick to share a laugh, a true environmentalist, and a loyal friend.  She leaves behind friends who will miss her greatly.

Reflecting her life, a graveside service will be held at Grove Cemetery in Trumansburg on Sunday, November 16 at 1:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations in Connie’s memory may be made to Gadabout Transportation, the Tompkins County S.P.C.A., or to the Cornell Plantations. Her friends thank staff at Old Hundred, Cayuga Medical Center, and Cayuga Ridge for their care during her illness.