Mark E.  Thomas, Jr.'s Memorial

Mark E. Thomas, Jr.
(1930 - 2010)


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General Details

Name: Mark E. Thomas, Jr.
Age: 80 years old
Lived: Thursday, 16 January 1930 - Sunday, 18 July 2010

My Story

The family gathered around the dinner table, laughing, crying, interrupting, laughing some more and, one by one, the grandma, the niece, the daughters, sons and grandchildren raised their glasses high to the heavens above, toasting to the man of the hour, the man of every hour:  Mark E. Thomas, Jr.  Throughout the meal, hopeful eyes glanced over at the full glass of merlot resting in front of the empty seat at the head of the table.  Empty on Sunday, July 18, 2010 for the first time; yet, for each person in the room, the spirit of Mark Thomas still sat at the head of the table, drinking merlot, eating heartily, laughing in volumes, giving words of wisdom and motivation (“carpe diem-seize the day”), and loving those in his life.

Mark, a native of San Jose, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home on July 18.  Mark was born in San Jose on January 16, 1930 to Mark and Helen Thomas.  He spent his early childhood in several cities throughout the United States due to his father’s service in the army during World War II.  The family returned to the San Jose area and, in 1947, Mark graduated from Lincoln High School.

Mark went on to attend Stanford University, where he was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity and the Stanford Band.  After graduating from Stanford, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a platoon leader in the Korean War.  He often spoke of his respect for the soldiers he commanded in the field. Upon his return, Mark met his soul mate and true love, Marjolie Foster.  They were married for 56 years.

In 1956, Mark graduated from Santa Clara Law School and opened a law practice in Willow Glen, Thomas, James, and Pendleton.  In 1975, he was appointed to the Municipal Court in the City of Sunnyvale and, in 1983, to the Superior Court in Santa Clara County.  Mark officially retired from the Court in 1991 and continued his judicial work with the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services.

Mark was a man of great integrity, honesty, and kindness.  He was an avid swimmer and runner (running 5 marathons in his lifetime), and he had a great enthusiasm for life.  He had a passion for jazz music and played the trombone for several jazz bands during his college years.  Mark also enjoyed studying local legal history.  He authored dozens of articles in legal newspapers and wrote several books.  He touched the lives of many and continues to live through those who knew him.

Mark is survived by his wife, Marjolie, four children, Colleen, Eileen, Steve, and Ward, seven grandchildren, Alison, Monica, Jennifer, Scott, Ryan, Benjamin, and Luke, his sister-in-law, Marlene, and nieces and nephews Darlene, Caryn, and Andy.  A Memorial Service to celebrate Mark’s life will be held on Saturday, July 31, 10:30 a.m. at Saint Francis Episcopal Church in San Jose. The Church is located at 1205 Pine Ave (corner of Pine Ave and Newport Ave).  In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to one of the following: (1) Santa Clara University Law School; (2) St. Francis Episcopal Church Memorial Fund; and (3) History of San Jose (

Anyone who wishes to share their memories of Mark may do so at 

A permanent tribute site will soon be available at

Fun, life, love.

Says Eileen Thomas-Werner, "My father was a lover of life, full of spark and energy and he always had a way of gently imparting his wisdom." Mark played in the Stanford Marching Band, played the trumpet and jazz gigs in San Francisco until he entered the military. Additionally, he was an avid runner and swimmer up until his health declined in 2009. He was married for 56 years.  A Stanford sports fan, he was a season ticket holder since the 1950s to the Stanford football games and in the 1970s, the men's and then women's basketball.
As his grandson Ryan 12 years of age states, "He was very accepting of all people and gave everyone the same chance, whether a lawyer or a painter.  He was always fair."
Mark's parents grew up in the Santa Clara Valley.  His mother, Helen Thomas, use to ride horse and buggy with her mother into downtown San Jose for goods and groceries.  Both parents went to Stanford.  "Summer jobs for my father," says Eileen,  "involved picking fruit, apricots and prunes in the 'Valley of the Hearts Delight' as SCC used to be called before the tech revolution hit."  Mark's father founded Mark Thomas & Co. a civil engineering firm during the Depression. The company has offices in Santa Clara County and Sacramento.
"As his daughter, it was a thrill to walk the sidewalks of downtown San Jose with my father.  It was a constant, 'Hey, Judge, how are you?' Or, 'How ya doin?'"
"Last, we celebrated his 80th birthday this past January 2010 with approximately 50 family and friends present.  My father recited 'To Thine Own Self Be True' by Shakespeare and that was just the classy guy he was."

MEMORIAL CELEBRATION:  Saturday, July 31, 2010 | St. Francis Episcopal Church, San Jose, California, at 10:30 am

About Mark Thomas (Judge Mark Thomas):

Stanford Grad 1951, Korea Served in the Marines, Combat 2 years, Santa Clara Law School Grad. 1956, Own Law Practice:  Thomas, James & Pendleton in Personal Injury & Family Law, Appointed to Bench, Municipal Court in 1975 by Gov. Reagan, Elevated to Superior Court of  in 1983 by Gov. Duekmejian, Retired from Bench in 1991. Pioneer of the San Jose JAMS & from 1995 to 2010.  Between 1991 & 1995, he was a "traveling" judge to both the  San Benito Court & Morgan Hill Court (Additionally, he came to love the small town court house of Morgan Hill & Hollister).

Articles –
In Brief (Journal of the Santa Clara Bar Association)  1971–1989
Advocate Journal/San Jose Post-Record (Legal Newspaper) 1978–1990
Books –
A Judicial Odyssey (Contributor) 1985
The Story of the California Judges Association (Committee Chair)  1992
Wielding the Gavel, The Story of the Courts of San Benito County (Author)  1996
From Promise to Prominence, The Santa Clara University School of Law (Author)  2003
A Legal History of Santa Cruz County (Co-author)  2006
Sullivan's Summaries, The Columns of Susan Serafino Sullivan (Collator)  2008
The History of the Santa Clara County Law Library  (Author) 2010
A Tribute to Judge Wayne Kanemoto (Contributor) 2010
Keepsake, The History of the Santa Clara County Legal Secretaries Assn. (Author) 2010
The Santa Clara County Law Advocates, A Short History. (Author) 2010

Latest Tributes

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Heart Memorial Tribute
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Dad - Words cannot describe how I feel about you and how blessed I am to have you as a father. Nobody in the world i...
Heart Memorial Tribute
From: Alithomas
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The best grandpa anyone could have, I love you so much
Candle Memorial Tribute
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Mark, Your accomplishments were many, but you retained a sweetness about you that is rare. You set an example of ...
Flower Memorial Tribute
From: MonicaThomas
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Grandpa, A flower for your love I lay across you heart Nothing is gone We are not apart


Fathers Name: Mark Thomas
Mothers Name: Helen Thomas
Spouse's Name: Marjolie Thomas (Foster)
Children's Names: Colleen, Eileen, Steve, and Ward
Siblings Names: Mark was an only child
Country of Birth: USA
Country of Residence: USA
City of Residence: San Jose
Occupation: Legal
Marital Status: Married


Favourite Sport: Football
Favourite Team: College Team: Stanford. Pro's: The Giants
Favourite Book: East of Eden
Favourite Movie: The Three Stooges
Favourite Music Genre: Jazz
Favourite Artist: Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles
Favourite Charity:
Other Interests:
Mark also loved biographies, and court history


Place of Passing: At home, in Willow Glen, San Jose, California
Date of Passing: 18 July 2010
Cause of Passing: Complications from cancer
Type of Funeral: Memorial Celebration
Place of Burial: Mark was cremated and will be interred at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 1205 Pine Ave, San Jose, CA 95125
Funeral Location: 10:30am at St. Francis Episcopal Church
Funeral Date: 31 July 2010


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