Dr. Steven L. Thomas

  • Born: July 14, 1970
  • Died: July 12, 2020
  • Location: Kingston, Pennsylvania

Cavanagh Patterson Family Funeral Homes

43 E. Baltimore Ave
Media, PA 19063

Tel. (610) 566-3400

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dr. Steven Thomas, of Kingston, passed away peacefully on July 12, 2020, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, following complications from a stem cell transplant for acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). His wife was by his side. Steven had been on leave from Wilkes University, where he was Professor of Music and served as chair of the Division of Performing Arts.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Steven received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University before earning his master's and doctoral degrees from Yale University. At Wilkes, Steven was the Director of Choral Activities for more than 20 years. In addition to teaching various classes within the music curriculum, he led the University Chorus and the Chamber Singers.

Steven sang in the Lyric Consort and was also the Music Director of the Arcadia Chorale, both based in Scranton. As part of his active performing schedule, Steven continued the Chorale's traditions of hosting a spring Bach Festival and an annual Messiah sing-along, which could be heard on WVIA-FM during the Christmas season. Under his leadership, the Chorale performed at the American Choral Directors Association convention and produced several recordings.

Steven frequently sought opportunities for Wilkes students to collaborate with members of other performing ensembles, such as the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and choirs from Marywood University, Bloomsburg University, and the Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania. Collaborations between the Wilkes choral ensembles and the Arcadia Chorale were especially meaningful for him. Most recently, he'd brought together singers and instrumentalists from across the region for a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

Steven is survived by his wife, Susan Minsavage, of Kingston. Also surviving are his parents, Marian and Timothy Thomas (Kansas); brother, Peter Thomas, sister-in-law Diana Steele, and their daughters, Mariana and Eliza Jane (Ohio); sister Julie Thomas (Kansas); as well as aunts, uncles and cousins. He is deeply mourned as a brother, uncle, nephew and cousin by his Minsavage family as well.

This is merely a list of facts about Steven. There is no obituary that could convey his essence, and no words to express the magnitude of this loss to those who knew and continue to love him.

A private cremation service was held on July 14 at Cavanagh Funeral Home for immediate family members. A public celebration of Steven's life will be planned in the future to honor this gifted and compassionate teacher, musician and friend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge in Cheltenham: www.cancer.org.


Condolence & Memory Journal

My deepest condolences. Stephen was a wonderful teacher and a much loved colleague. He will be deeply missed at Wilkes.

Posted by Lisa Kadlec - Kingston, PA - Coworker   July 27, 2020

Steven was an inspirational person. Very intelligent, a scholar and friend to everyone. So proud to have met him. Rest peaceful Steven.

Posted by Dove Laraine - Kansas city, MO - classmate   July 23, 2020


So very sorry to hear this! Dr. Thomas was my music history teacher and choral director at Wilkes. He was a wonderful person who always had a smile on his face and kind words to say. Prayers to all family and friends. God Bless!

Posted by Christine Chilcott - Clarks Summit, PA - Student   July 21, 2020

Tim, Marian, and family & friends, I know how proud his parents were of his many achievements and giving life. My heartfelt sympathy is with you, and my prayers for God's comfort are offered for you.

Posted by Floyd Gingrich - Independence, MO   July 20, 2020

You will be missed dearly back in KC. In our hearts you will always be a friend and Southwest H.S. classmate. We all thank you for being part of our lives. You will not be forgotten.

Posted by Carl Sharp - Kansas City, MO - Classmate   July 20, 2020

So sorry to hear of Steven's passing. I was his classmate at Southwest High School in Kansas City, Missouri and have such fond memories of time in band and orchestra. Sending my sympathy and prayer during this time.

Posted by Tracy Ashby - Laurel, MD - Classmate   July 20, 2020

We send heartfelt condolences to family and friends. Stephen's intelligence, warmth, compassion, and musical abilities and accomplishments were inspiring. We are grateful for times shared when our paths crossed. Our lives were enriched by knowing Stephen.

Posted by Jill DeWitt - Friend   July 19, 2020

So sorry for your loss of your special loved one. May his memory always be for a blessing.

Posted by Norm and Renee Schoch - Sacramento, CA - Family   July 19, 2020

As the former pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Bloomsburg, I wish to express our sympathy as a congregation to the family and to the Wilkes College choir who held their fall retreat at FPC Bloomsburg every year for years. His presence with the students that first weekend in September was a blessing to the congregation. Their offering music on Sunday for our service of worship was truly inspiring. He brought energy, intelligence, imagination and love that I could see in his work with the students. It was evident he had a great relationship with his students and a passion for his work with them. Thanks be to God for his life and gifts and skills -- all that he brought to our lives.
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth McCormick
former pastor,
First Presbyterian Church of Bloomsburg.

Posted by Elizabeth McCormick - Bloomsburg, PA - Acquaintance   July 15, 2020

My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family. Steven will be missed by all whom he came in contact with. A wonderful personality and an artist in his own right. I pray that you will be surrounded by the blessings of angels. Lorraine Maillet

Posted by Lorraine Maillet - Tunkhannock, PA - Coworker   July 15, 2020

As my supervisor Steven was always available to give me advise on issues I needed help with. His steady leadership held the DPA together and we all knew we were in good hands. He lead by an example of excellence and inspired us to do our best work. I was blessed to know him and his spirit will always be with me.

Posted by Tom Rupp - Blakeslee, PA - Friend   July 15, 2020

Dear Susan & Family, as so many have have already said, Steven was such an inspiration to me in many ways during my time in Pennsylvania. A gentleman and an amazing human being. We wish you peace and comfort during this difficult time and share in your grief with prayers from Richmond Rhode Island.

Posted by Kenneth Moden - Richmond, RI - Friend   July 14, 2020

Steven Thomas' passing is an unbelievable loss to those of us who knew him and had the pleasure of working with him, especially those of us in the arts community. Rest in Peace.

Posted by Gina Z. Morrison - Forty Fort, PA - Coworker   July 14, 2020

I did not know Steven; however, after reading his background and many contributions to Wilkes University as well as many other venues who were fortunate enough to experience his many talents.
His untimely passing is, indeed, sad & tragic. I am sure that Steven is singing with the angels.
God bless all of those who love him with the strength & courage you need during your time of grief & sorrow.

Posted by Mary Lampman - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Teacher   July 14, 2020

Steven was such a special person. His warmth, talent and inspiration to others was wonderful, and his loss will be felt by family, friends, students and all who knew him.

Posted by Bill Eddy and Alice Fichandler - San Diego, CA - Family   July 14, 2020

Sending love and prayers at this sad, sad time. Martha and Jackson Hill.

Posted by Martha Hill - Lewisburg, PA - Teacher   July 14, 2020

All my love to you, Sue, and deepest condolences to Steven's family and friends.

Posted by Lynn - SCRANTON, PA   July 14, 2020

Steven was such a kind and compassionate man. He was a mentor to so many students at Wilkes and engaged people in his beautiful music who would not have otherwise done so. We have lost a wonderful gentleman. Amanda Modrovsky

Posted by Amanda Modrovsky - Mountain Top, PA - Coworker   July 14, 2020

So sorry for your loss. Steven was well loved at Wilkes. He will be missed.

Posted by Amy Bradley - Mountain top, PA - Coworker   July 14, 2020

I extend my deepest condolences to Dr. Thomas' family. I knew him through my daughter's time with the choirs at Wilkes University. He was very talented and personable. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Posted by Ed McQue - East Greenville, PA - Acquaintance   July 14, 2020

Our condolences to your family. It was a true pleasure to sing under Steven's direction a time or two. He was a beautiful soul and passionate with his talent. He will be missed.

Posted by Nora Clark - Scranton, PA - Acquaintance   July 14, 2020

Your creative, insightful presence will always be with me and my memories of our times together at Wilkes--especially when trying to retain our arts programs. Peaceful, joyous thoughts.

Posted by Jane Elmes-Crahall - Larksville, PA - Friend   July 14, 2020

Family Album