Donna Allene Thomas

Date of Birth

December 9, 1926

Date of Death

September 11, 2022

A loving, caring, compassionate and generous woman who lived a life of service, Donna Allene Thomas, age 95, of Santa Barbara, CA, passed away at home on September 11, 2022, surrounded by the love of her family.

Donna, a California native, was born in Alameda, CA on December 9, 1926, to parents Houston Byron Thomas and Margaret (Dolly) Ramsay Thomas. She graduated from Polytechnic High School in Riverside, CA in 1944, and went on to study at Highland School of Nursing in Oakland, CA, graduating in August 1946. Having joined the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in 1944, in 2003 she was designated a member of the Special Honor Roll by Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

Donna met David A. Wright in Riverside, CA. After marrying in 1946, they lived in the Piedmont Pines district of Oakland, CA where they had three children: Cynthia Diane, Kathryn Elizabeth, and Lauren Michelle.

After the marriage ended, Donna moved to Santa Barbara in 1967 where she worked as an RN at Cottage Hospital assisting surgeries, births, and emergencies. She went on to attend San Fernando Valley State College and graduated in 1972 with a B.S. in Health Science. Public health became her mission and she worked for Santa Barbara County making welfare checks on the indigent and homeless living on the streets.

Upon retiring, Donna enjoyed a successful career as a real estate agent and investor in Santa Barbara. It was in the real estate office that she met her future husband John (Jack) A. Patterson.

Growing up, Donna sang in the Presbyterian Church choir in Riverside, CA and was a member of the Highland Nursing School Chorus. She and Jack sang with the Santa Barbara Choral Society in many memorable concerts. They were also choir members of the First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara. Her homes were always filled with music, and she passed along her love of music to her children and grandchildren.

A plant and nature lover, Donna grew wonderful gardens at her homes in Oakland and Santa Barbara. Donna and Jack belonged to the Audubon Society and loved bird watching, as well as hiking with the Sierra Club. They enjoyed many years traveling around the world and spending time with family at her homes in Santa Barbara, Donner Lake and on Oahu.

Leaving a legacy of love, in addition to her husband, Jack, and daughters, Cynthia Wright Aldous, Kathryn Yuma, and Lauren Breese, Donna is survived by five grandchildren: Kathryn Cunningham, Michael Cunningham, Michelle Clark, Christopher Pace, Ryan Pace, and eight great-grandchildren: Elijah, Zachary, Hannah, Levi, Victor, Rowan, Jonah, and Jacob.

Learn more about Donna at A memorial will be scheduled to honor Donna’s life. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations in Donna’s name to Alzheimer’s Association and Hospice.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.