Charlotte Ray Thomas, a family counselor and wife of longtime syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, died Saturday in Falls Church, Virginia, after a long illness. She was 78.
Mr. Thomas used the tool of his trade — his pen — to pay tribute to his wife of 51 years, who’d directed the counseling program at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda for a decade.
“She used to tease me after a long forgotten argument, saying, ‘You’ll miss me when I’m gone.’ She was right. I do,” wrote Mr. Thomas, whose work appears in hundreds of newspapers, including The Washington Times.
Their courtship started in musical theater, at The American Light Opera Company in Georgetown.
Mr. Thomas said he had passable talent, but that Charlotte Ray’s “powerful and perfectly pitched” voice could hit the back seats without a problem. She chose a life with Mr. Thomas and their four children instead of pursuing the bright lights of Broadway.
At the start of their marriage — back in Mr. Thomas’ Army days — Charlotte Ray would get up in the early morning to greet Mr. Thomas when he returned home in the wee hours from a long day at the Armed Forces Radio in New York and a second civilian job.
Mr. Thomas is now one of the most widely syndicated columnists in America. He also frequently appears on television to comment on conservative values.
Once their children were grown, Charlotte Ray returned to school and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Lynchburg College. And later in life, after they’d “finally made it,” the couple traveled the world to meet interesting people in interesting places.
“She was generous with her time and money, always spending and sending as much as she was able to her children and grandchildren,” Mr. Thomas wrote in his tribute. “I can say without embellishment I would not be the man I am today without her. God knew what He was doing when He put us together.”
Besides her husband, Charlotte Ray Thomas is survived by four children — Heather of Front Royal, Virginia; Jay of Barstow, Virginia; Caray of Houston; and Jon of Warrenton, Virginia — a brother, Robert Heath of Annapolis, and 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“Those who were fortunate enough to know Ray knew a strong woman where strength really counts,” Mr. Thomas wrote in his tribute. “She knew who she was and wasn’t defined by the value system applied by the world, which regards fame, money and political power as supreme. To love and be loved by someone like that for so long is a gift of great value.”
Memorial gifts may be sent to Fourth Presbyterian Church, 5500 River Road, Bethesda, MD, 20816.