Theodora Louise Howes Thayer Edwards died peacefully on July 10 in hospice care, surrounded by family. She was 96.

She was born in June 1925 in Vineyard Haven to Theodore C. Howes and Nellie Johnson Conklin Howes. Dora, as she was known, grew up on Skiff avenue in Vineyard Haven, the second of six children. She graduated from Tisbury High School.

After graduation, she was employed as a telephone operator at the Vineyard airport, where she met her future husband, Scott Thayer, who was serving in the U.S. Navy. They were married in 1945 and had four children: son Robert and daughters Lynn, Patricia and Barbara. They moved several times after living in Vineyard Haven, including locations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. In 1968, they settled in Rockville, Md., where she worked with Scott at GeoMet, Inc., helping to start a new company.

Dora moved to Tucson, Ariz. in 1976 after separating from Scott in order to be near her sister, Martha Howes Doane. Dora and Scott divorced in 1978. While in Tucson, she met and later married Bob Edwards.

She earned certification as a medical assistant and worked in a podiatrist’s office, assisting with foot surgeries, which she found fascinating. She and Bob moved to Sierra Vista, Ariz. in 1984 to enjoy the quiet life. Dora moved back to Tucson in 1994, after Bob died, to be close to her daughters Trish and Barb. In later years, she enjoyed spending time with family, gardening, and keeping company with her feline companion, Sunny.

In 2019, she moved to El Rancho Encanto Assisted Living in Tucson. Her final days were spent at Peppi’s House at Tucson Medical Center, TMC Hospice.

Dora dearly loved her family and was a big part of her grandchildren’s lives. She always enjoyed gardening, whether with a large yard in Rockville or in her courtyard in Tucson. She also loved big band music, old movies, classic books and watching PBS.

She is survived by her daughters, Lynn Gilley, Trish Thayer and Barb Thayer; grandchildren, Elizabeth Sanderson, Amy Gilley and Daniel Thayer and his wife Melissa; sister in law Rosemary Howes; brother in law Louis Bourgault; six great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was the last surviving member of her large Vineyard family, including parents Theodore and Nellie Howes; brothers Robert, Richard and Theodore Howes; and sisters Mary Howes Bourgault and Martha Howes Doane. She was also predeceased by her son Robert Thayer, husband Bob Edwards and former husband Scott Thayer.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date on Martha’s Vineyard.

Donations can be made tom Habitat for Humanity, the World Wildlife Fund, or to Peppi’s House at Tucson Medical Center, TMC Hospice (