Isy was witty belle

Middlemarch character Isy Thomas, who died on November 15. Photo by Alice Scott.
Middlemarch character Isy Thomas, who died on November 15. Photo by Alice Scott.
One of the Strath Taieri's most notable residents might be gone, but her legend will live on.

About 500 people turned out to the Strath Taieri Community Centre recently to farewell Isabel Thomas, who died suddenly at her Middlemarch home on November 15.

She was 83.

Known to most in the area as ''Isy'', Mrs Thomas' death leaves a large gap in the community.

Many a yarn was shared at her funeral, with laughs outnumbering any tears shed.

With a candid approach to life, Mrs Thomas was a breath of fresh air everywhere she went.

She made people smile with her witty manner and always showed empathy and concern for others.

She was a great community woman, committing her time over the years to more than 15 clubs and organisations.

Mrs Thomas loved a social occasion and was never one to leave a party early.

A great example of this was just four months ago at the local rugby social - at 2am, the only ones left in the hall were a handful of the club's younger members - and Isy.

She loved to dance, but once suffered a broken ankle after dancing a jig atop a table at the golf club (she told the doctor she injured herself while changing a lightbulb.)

Besides all the mischief and shenanigans Mrs Thomas was renowned for, she also had a work ethic and a tough, resilient spirit.

She began her married life with her late husband Peter on an isolated hill block with no running water or power.

At her funeral, eldest daughter Janice read an extract from one of Mrs Thomas' old diaries: ''Have now got a lawnmower, Peter has repaired it and it cuts quite well. So goodbye to the shears and on the knees.''

Farewell to Middlemarch's favourite lady.

Isy, you will be sorely missed.

- Alice Scott

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