Olivia Kirby Thomas, age 101, daughter of Parris C. Kirby and Virginia Benson Kirby died December 24, 2018 at Gilpin Hall.

Kirby was raised on a farm in Milford, Delaware where she learned to have the greenest thumb and a deep appreciation of nature.

She graduated Milford High School in 1936 and after attended Philadelphia Business College where she met her husband, Norris. She went on to work for DuPont in the Rayon Department. Kirby would then teach eighteen years at Chester Bethel Preschool.

Kirby served on the Krebs School Board, State Board of Education and the State Parent-Teachers Association. She was a member of the Garden Gate Garden Club, the State Board of Garden Clubs as a Wildlife Chairman, Beautification of State Highways. Kirby was on the Board of the Delaware Center of Horticulture, a volunteer with the Delaware Art Museum Council and the Vice President of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs. With her love of nature, she became a member of the Delaware Nature Society and the Delaware Trust for Historic Preservation.

Kirby was a life-time member of St. David’s Episcopal Church, 2320 Grubb Road, in Wilmington, Delaware. She served on the board of the day school and was a founding member of the Elderberries of St. David’s.

Her hobbies included playing bridge, needle point and most of all gardening and flower arranging.

She was predeceased by her husband, Norris W. Thomas Sr., her children, Norris W. Thomas Jr. and Carol Lynn Thomas, and brother, Vinal B. Kirby. Olivia is survived by her daughters, Gail Thomas Palumbo (Robert) and Glenda Kirby Ruggiero (Anthony); grandchildren, A. Paul Ruggiero (Kelly) and Thomas M. Ruggiero (Kim); great-grandchildren, Christina Lynn Ruggiero, Angela J. Ruggiero and Thomas G. Ruggiero; nieces, Sharon A. Kirby and Dyann Frick; nephews, Russell Rudy Kirby (Kara) and Robert Glynn; great-nephews, Victor Kirby and Carson Kirby; cousin, Richard Matlat.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 29 at 12 noon at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 2320 Grubb Road, Wilmington, DE 19803 where friends are invited to a visitation beginning at 11:30 a.m. Interment will take place in the church memorial garden.

Kirby’s family wishes to thank the staff of Gilpin Hall for their excellent care. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. David’s Episcopal Church, St. David’s Day School or the charity of your choice.