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Katherine Thomas-Rico

January 20, 1960 April 16, 2014
Katherine Thomas-Rico
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Obituary for Katherine Thomas-Rico

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, April 26, for Katherine Thomas Rico, who passed away April 16 the way she chose to live, in quiet and grace. She died of cancer at age 54. The celebration will be held in the Buck Estate Gardens on Buck Ave., Vacaville at 4 p.m. Katherine was born Jan. 20, 1960 in Palos Verdes, Calif. where she attended elementary school. Her family moved to El Dorado Hills in the 1970s, where she graduated from Ponderosa High School in 1978. Kathy was a journalism and English major at California State University Sacramento, where she met Barry Rico while working on the college newspaper. They were married in 1986. Vacaville was home. They raised three children, twins Emelyn Grace and Christopher John, and Katherine Elise. Being a mother was Kathy's greatest joy. She relished their lives and adventures, never forgetting that it's important to laugh at the little things. Kathy began her journalism career at The Reporter in 1983 as a part-time writer for the features department, and was soon hired full time. The period was considered the 'glory days' at the newspaper. Its newsroom was filled with colorful characters, many of whom were given nicknames. Kathy's was 'Flash' for her speed on the computers and page layout. She became a pivotal part of the award-winning paper, and took on roles as Garden Editor, Food Editor and eventually Assistant Features Editor. She worked with dear friends, Brian Hamlin and Mary Lou Wilson, who also passed away from cancer. Gardening was her real passion; she was an advocate for planting California natives. California Mediterranean style landscaping was her favorite. She became a Master Gardener in 2003, making life-long friends from the program. Kathy enjoyed working the MG booth at the Farmer's Market and attended gardening shows, classes and road trips with her 'sisters of the traveling plants.' Kathy joined the Vacaville Museum board of directors in 2009, and took on many duties including the set up and operation of its email mailing list. She loved wine, food and friend sand making limoncello almost as much as she loved life. She was known as a 'word nerd' among friends, and enjoyed get-togethers with friends of the Blue Room Book Club. Kathy and Barry's travels took them to their favorite spots the Northern California coastline, The Sea Ranch and Europe where they especially liked the small towns of Italy. But they equally loved being at home. Katherine Thomas Rico was preceded in death by her parents, Katherine Thomas and John Thomas, as well as her brother, Christopher Thomas. She is survived by her husband, Barry Rico, and children Emelyn, Christopher, and Katie. She is also survived by her brother, Jay Thomas and his wife Terri of Del Mar; sister-in-law, Connie Thomas of Palm Desert, and nieces, Julie Thomas and Allison Wheeler and her husband, Christopher Wheeler; brother-in-law, Layne Rico and his wife Michele, of Valencia; mother-in-law, Lillian Rico, of Carmel; sister-in-law, Jennifer Hamilton; father-in-law, Richard Rico, and his wife, Lisa, all of Vacaville. The family thanks all the nurses, doctors and staff at Sutter Medical in Vacaville for their invaluable support, as well as the caring staff of Sutter Hospice. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Vacaville Museum, or Sutter Medical Hospice.

Celebration of Life Buck Mansion 225 Buck Ave. Saturday, April 26, 2014 4:00pm

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