Carolyn June McQuaid Thomas

Date of Birth

June 30, 1937

Date of Death

March 29, 2023

City of Death

Goleta, CA

Carolyn June (McQuaid) Thomas, a 50-year resident of Santa Barbara, CA, died on March 29, 2023 at the age of 85.

Carolyn was born on June 30, 1937 at 37 Western Ave., Aspinwall, PA, the house she grew up in with her parents and two older brothers, Bob and Roger. She was the 3rd child of the late Edwin Heyd and Anna (Fischer) McQuaid.

After graduating from Aspinwall High School in 1955, Carolyn attended Slippery Rock State Teachers College (Yes, Virginia, there is a Slippery Rock, PA), and received a B.S. in English and Physical Education in 1959. She started to go by the nickname Cari at this time, and it stayed with her throughout her life. Cari taught school for the next nine years. Later in life she got a second wind and taught German Genealogy at Santa Barbara City College Wake Center for several years.

Carolyn is survived by her husband of 56 years, David T. Thomas, daughters Julie (Chuck) Roth and Kathy (Marc) Gray, grandchildren Paul (Anita) Zuniga, Christina Zuniga (Michael Davis), Isabel Gray and Jessica Gray, great-grandchildren D.J. Zuniga, Xander Zuniga, and Talia Davis-Zuniga, her brothers Robert (Janet) McQuaid and Roger McQuaid, as well as many nieces and nephews, and too many cousins to count.

Carolyn was predeceased by her parents, sister-in-law Janet (Bailey) McQuaid and Nephew Tod Edwin McQuaid.

Cari’s passions in life were God, family, and community.

Cari was a faithful member of Goleta Presbyterian Church, serving as Deacon and Elder, singing in the choir, directing many Christmas programs, serving on committees, and much more.

Cari was a devoted wife and mother, and a dedicated caregiver for her beloved grandchildren. She was known as “Grandma” to dozens of children who came to play with the grandkids, feeding them her famous grilled cheese sandwiches.

In 1995 the genealogy (Family History) bug bit her and she was hooked. She was an active member of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society (SBCGS) and Daughters of Union Veterans, giving presentations to both. She volunteered often at the Sahyun Genealogy Library and the Goleta Public Library. She was a member of The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild and transcribed over 50 passenger lists to help others researching their family history.

Cari made two trips to Germany, searching for locations and records for ancestors of her mother, Anna Mathilda Fischer McQuaid and her grandmother, Daisy Heyd McQuaid.

Cari loved to give back and be involved in the community. She delivered Meals on Wheels. She was a Girl Scout Leader. She had many entries in Santa Barbara County Fair & Expos, winning first prize for her French Apple Pie on two separate occasions, and winning “Best Use of Fair Theme: Promises for Tomorrow” for a picture taken in 1998.

Cari participated in fundraising walks for many charities, most passionately as part of the team she co-founded and led called “Macular REgeneration” to raise funds for Research on Macular Degeneration, a disease which badly affected Cari and her mother, Anna.

Cari sang in Sweet Adelines Santa Barbara Chorus, and in a registered Sweet Adeline quartet — The Daydreamers. She loved Barbershop music!

Cari’s warmth and compassion were a beacon for so many. The world is a richer place for having known her.

Her family would like to thank her caregivers at Central Coast Hospice and Mariposa at Ellwood Shores for the wonderful care and compassion they provided for our loved one.

There will be a Celebration of Life at Goleta Presbyterian Church (6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta, CA 93117) on June 10, 2023 at 1 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Goleta Presbyterian Church ( gpc/) or Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society (


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