In Memoriam – Rosa Basley Thomas

This post originally ran in the September 2012 Cedar Park Neighbors newsletter.  Didn't receive a newsletter?  Consider becoming a member of Cedar Park Neighbors by clicking here. As our newsletter is going to press Cedar Park Neighbors was saddened to learn of the recent death of Rosa Basley Thomas, a long time member and community leader from the 5000 block of Walton Avenue. Rosa died at Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital on Friday, August 3, 2012 after a brief period of illness.

Rosa Basley was born in Macon, Georgia on December 4, 1941 and was one of 10 children. Her family moved to Philadelphia when Rosa was four years old. She graduated in 1960 from West Philadelphia High School and, shortly after graduation, enlisted into the United States Air Force from which she received an honorable discharge. She married Freddie Thomas, Jr. in 1961 and was blessed with a daughter, Lisa Michelle. In 1964, Rosa enrolled into Drexel University’s Engineering Night School Program and in 1966 joined the Philadelphia School Board as an accountant and later worked in their engineering department as an Administrative Assistant. She worked for the School Board for more than 20 years.

In addition to work, Rosa had many other passions. She was an accomplished clothing designer, with a large following who sought her out to design and make wedding and prom gowns, dresses, suits and coats and other items for special occasions. An avid gardener, Rosa not only cared for her own garden but encouraged other beautification activities among her neighbors.

Rosa was a resident of the 5000 block of Walton Avenue for 35+ years. She was an energetic advocate for her block and served as Block Captain for over 20 years and was considered the “go to” person and the party person. As a Block Captain she coordinated block meetings, clean-ups, parties, tree planting and other greening projects. Because of her effective block leadership she was the keynote speaker at CPN’s 2005 Block Leaders Conference. She was always interested to do her part to see our community move forward in a positive way. Rosa also served as a member of the CPN Board of Directors from 2007 – 2009. We have lost a wonderful neighbor who inspired and encouraged many with her hopeful spirit and enduring commitment to community building.

Cedar Park Neighbors extends our heartfelt sympathies to Rosa’s family in this time of sorrow and loss.