Doris Agnes (Schumacher) Thom, Janesville, WI
March 8, 1920 - November 15, 2017
Doris Agnes (Schumacher) Thom, age 97, of Janesville, died on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at Mercy Hospital. She was born in Janesville on March 8, 1920, to Albert and Alvina (Donner) Schumacher and graduated from Janesville High School in 1937. From her earliest days, Doris was an outgoing, independent, adventurous girl. Her lifelong love of fishing and nature was shared by her friend and husband of 55 years, Henry Paul Thom, as well as her second husband of 15 years, George Charles Thom.
Doris fought for women’s rights throughout her long life. Her first job was as a “Rosie the Riviter” at Gilman Engineering during World War II where she helped produce emergency landing gear for fighter planes. She received the United States Army and Navy “E” (Excellence) Award for this work. Doris was also the first woman to serve on the Executive Committee for the International Association of Machinists Local 1266.
Later, at the General Motors’ Fisher Body Plant in Janesville, Doris achieved several important “firsts” for women. She fought to be the first woman allowed to work “on the line” with men opening all the plant’s jobs to women for the first time. She was also the first woman to sit on the Executive Board of the United Auto Workers Local 95.
Doris was a role model for women in the community as well as the workplace. She was one of the founders of the Blackhawk Credit Union, was a founding member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and served on Wisconsin’s Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in the 1970s. She received the Veteran Feminists of America Award honoring early Midwest feminist leaders and the Catherine Conroy Award honoring Wisconsin Women in labor. She was also a YWCA Woman of Distinction award winner.
Doris is survived by a son, Don (Sue) Thom of Beaver Dam, WI; a daughter, Pat Thom of Janesville; grandchildren, Sara (Marc Hanes) Thom of Maplewood, NJ, and David Thom of Portage, WI; and great-grandchildren: Peter, Ellie, Crystal, Amber, and Rowan. She was preceded in death by husbands, Henry Thom, and George Thom; and son, Paul Thom.
Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, at ST. PETER’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 1422 Center Ave., Janesville. Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m., with Pastor Bruce Gray officiating. Lunch will follow in the church’s Cross and Crown Room. SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY is assisting the family. For online obituary and registry: For on-line condolences and registry: www.schneiderfuneraldirectors.com
Last updated: 11:35 pm Saturday, November 18, 2017