Diane Thomas (1957-2023)
It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Diane Grace Thomas. She passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her children on September 23, 2023.
Born in Tripoli, Libya, to an American father Stewart, and a French mother Paulette Broyles, Diane Thomas’s passion for language, culture, and geopolitical affairs was set at birth. Her childhood was spent in various cities throughout Northern Africa, France, and Germany, before moving to Northern Virginia for her high school years.
Diane attended the University of Virginia as part of the first official co-ed freshmen class. While at UVA, Diane spent a year abroad at the Sorbonne, in Paris, and upon her return helped establish the Epsilon Sigma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
It was on the Lawn of The University that she met her loving husband, Clay Thomas, on his French Peugeot bicycle and initiated their shared love for French food and culture. Following graduation in 1979 with a Bachelor of Art, Diane began her career in Washington, D.C., as a legislative aide on The Hill. Her time in D.C. furthered her deep passion for politics and governance, and her commitment to bettering society and advocating for causes she believed in.
Following her marriage to Clay on January 2, 1981, she joined him in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was posted for his role with CitiBank. They traveled the world together, making lifelong friends as they navigated moves to Chicago, Milwaukee, and eventually Indianapolis. While in Milwaukee, Diane gave birth to their son and daughter, Render and Lee.
Shortly after arriving in Indianapolis, Clay and Diane were instrumental in helping establish the International School of Indiana, furthering Indianapolis’s presence within the global community, and providing local access to world-class education.
Diane spent most of her career working in the nonprofit sector. She held a variety of roles at a diverse range of institutions including Planned Parenthood of Central Indiana, the Indianapolis Ballet, and the International Center to name a few. Concurrently, she received her master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University.
She carried her global perspective forward in all her career accomplishments. She was forever shaped by her work with women in Guatemala, and by her various work experiences in Nepal, China, Taiwan, and Korea, to name but a few.
She spent the majority of her career at the International Center of Indianapolis, where she worked tirelessly to improve Indianapolis’s local and global presence. Under her leadership, the Center’s budget nearly doubled allowing the organization to establish a variety of new relocation services and cultural competency programs, as well as the Office of Protocol Services.
She also served as Indiana’s first Honorary Consul of France and as a board member for both the International School of Indiana and the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV).
Her professional career culminated in a two-year assignment to Ukraine with the Peace Corps where she helped young Ukrainians develop their nonprofit sector.
Upon retirement, Diane was recognized with a Sagamore of The Wabash Award, tributing her incredible contributions to the State of Indiana.
While in retirement, Diane pursued her passion for gardening and became an avid bridge player. She loved preparing elaborate meals, much to the delight of her family and friends, and was quick to test new and complicated recipes. She pursued her spirit of adventure by completing the Camino de Santiago with her brother, a 500-mile pilgrimage on foot across northern Spain.
She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, and mother. Diane is preceded in death by her husband, Clay Randall Thomas, and her father, Stewart Broyles. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Lee Thomas and Shaun Stamford, her son Render Thomas, her mother Paulette Broyles, her brothers Patrick and Michael Ganne, and her beloved Norwich terrier Henri.
A funeral service and reception will be held on Thursday, October 5th, 2023, at 10 a.m. (ET) at Trinity Episcopal Church, 3243 North Meridian, Indianapolis, Ind. Her ashes will be brought to France and scattered at sea off the coast of Saint-Malo, a meaningful site for the family.
A livestream of the service can be viewed at: https://trinitychurchindy.org/funerals/.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the International School of Indiana at Donate - International School of Indiana (isind.org), please indicate “In Memory of Diane Thomas” within the unrestricted category.
Please share an online condolence or memory of Diane at www.flannerbuchanan.com.
Thursday, October 5, 2023
Starts at 10:00am (Eastern time)
Trinity Episcopal Church