Harriett Louise Thomas was born in Greigsville, New York to Marguerite Sarah Wilson Thomas and Joseph Franklin Thomas on March 4, 1926. She was lovingly called “Sister”, “Sis”, or “Strings” by her two older brothers Aaron and Joey, who predeceased her. We thank God for the many years He allowed us to spend with her,
Harriett adored her mother. It was because of her “Mama’s” close and loving care, and because her Mama was the model of such an exceptional human being, that Harriett developed her understanding and desire to be a committed Christian, nurturing mother, good friend, hard worker and high achiever.
Harriett married Frank Nuciola (‘Nutch’). They were blessed with 44 years of married life together before Frank died of a heart attack. They were the parents of two daughters, Kathy (Kevin) Damann and Gina (Ed) Mikolon, and a son, Frank (Baby Frankie) who died at age 18 months of congenital heart disease. Harriett delighted in her grandchildren Kendra, Krista, Jenae, and Marguerite, her sons-in-law Kevin and Ed, and her great-grandchildren, Elliana, Cambria, Seneca, Quinn, Mason, Colton, Christian and Caleb. She was the model for us of a completely devoted and loving parent. Her family also includes nieces, nephews, and cousins. There are many dear friends who have passed on before her, and many friends who are here to remember Harriett with love and affection.
Throughout most of her life, Harriett enjoyed inviting friends and family to parties and dinner parties. She was the perfect hostess, planning each event to the smallest detail. Harriett followed in the footsteps of her mother who was an extraordinary cook. At family meals we always looked forward to Mom’s/Grandma’s collard greens, and her famous light and fluffy, large, steaming hot, melt in your mouth biscuits. No one could make them quite like she did!
Harriett had a keen sense of fashion/style. She enjoyed shopping and had a remarkable ability to find the best apparel at the best sale prices. “Look at how much I saved,” was an expression she passed to the next two generations. She was always stylishly dressed from head to toe with matching hat, shoes and jewelry for every outfit. The home she created was welcoming and truly beautiful with an eclectic style that included her favorite antiques.
The gift of writing was evident early in Harriett’s life. She wrote beautiful pieces of poetry and prose to commemorate special family celebrations, and writings that soothed her and were gifts to others when life’s challenges could have been overwhelming. Spotting someone doing a good job was reason for writing a commendation. If there were situations that were wrong, that warranted letters to be written too. Harriett used her rich vocabulary to do the word Jumble in the newspaper. That was an enjoyable activity for her to do every day. No jumbled words were too difficult for her to solve. She did thousands of them!
In the workplace as well as her home, Harriett gave her very best as a telephone operator, secretary, administrative assistant and entrepreneur. Her employers wrote letters praising her work ethic and the improvements she created in the workplace. Harriett was recognized by the City of Rochester and was given “The Rochesterian Award” because of her outstanding service to Rochester’s visitors and residents.
People enjoyed being with Harriett. She loved to laugh and was amused by her own sense of humor! She was a great communicator. Her loyalty and love for her friends made it easy for many to tell her their troubles as she offered advice and a shoulder to cry on. Harriett made people feel special, because they truly were special to her. Lavishing her beautiful smile on everyone was another way for friends, acquaintances, and passersby to know they were highly valued. Harriett was passionate and outspoken when she saw injustices occur. She carried herself with dignified grace in all situations. Harriett supported people and organizations in many ways, often without them knowing she was the one helping. She took great delight in little children who also delighted in her, lovingly calling her “Grandma Harriett.”
People in various clubs and organizations always looked to Harriett to be in charge of events. They admired her leadership, creativity and organizational skills which helped each event to be successful. She used those same skills to create elaborate theme parties for her friends and for her children’s friends. This included a Hawaiian luau, and one of her funniest which was a “Come as you are” party. (On an unknown date, whenever you got the call, you had to “come as you are.”)
Harriett had a great love of music, and singing was another talent. She recorded some records in high school and was in church choirs most of her life. She had a beautiful soprano voice. With her vocal range, Harriett also sang alto, and could harmonize to any melody. Our family’s “Happy Birthday” song will never be the same without her harmonies. Later in life, at a gospel concert or listening to a CD, Harriett couldn’t help but move her arms to do her own conducting of the songs. What rhythm she had! Play a catchy tune, and Harriett would break into dance…. with or without a partner.
While driving in the neighborhood, you’d often see Harriett walking miles from home. She loved to take those long walks. She might sit for a little while, read her Bible and walk back home. A plastic baggie with hard candies was a must to have in her purse, or as she called it, her pocketbook. Butterscotch, strawberry, peppermint were her favorites to share with anyone near her. It was a treat to go in Grandma’s refrigerator or freezer to find her store of Milky Way candy bars. She enjoyed eating good food and yummy desserts, (in particular, lemon meringue pie or anything lemon). She savored each mouthful, eating very slowly. We thought that in an eating race, even the tortoise would finish eating before she would!
The Church has always been an integral part of Harriett’s life. Whether singing in the choir, preparing food, serving on committees, attending Bible studies, contributing financially, talking and laughing with her devoted friends, or organizing Women’s Day events, Harriett was always eager to help and give support wherever it was needed.
But besides the importance of the Church, Harriett’s beloved church sisters and brothers, and the activities, it was the love of Almighty God and the saving grace of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that sustained her throughout her life. In the midst of trials and declining health she would often say, “I am so blessed.” And when most of her life’s treasured memories faded away, she could amazingly remember the sweet and soothing words of her many, many favorite hymns, such as… (“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”) … (“I’m gonna trade my earthly home for a better one bright and fair. Christ left to prepare a mansion for His children in the air. I’ll join Him in that land where tears nor sorrow can be found. Then, I’ll receive my mansion, robe and crown.”) … (“I know it was the blood. I know it was the blood. I know it was the blood that saved me. One day when I was lost Jesus died on yonder cross. I know it was the blood that saved me.”) … (“Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine...This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”)
God created this most remarkable woman and called her home to be with Him for all eternity on April 12, 2021. These words are true and meaningful for Harriett’s life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Tim. 4:7.
So, dear family and friends, we are comforted because we know that Harriett, our Mom, Grandma, Great-grandma, Aunt, Cousin, and Friend has now received, in the words of a favorite hymn, her “mansion, robe and her crown.”
for the immeasurable love that she poured into our lives,
and we give God praise and glory…
because in Harriett’s words which echo in our minds…
“We are so blessed!”
*Please join us in the fight against Alzheimer’s by making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in Harriett’s name.
The Open Door Mission is another of Harriett’s favorite charities.