If you never got to know Laurie Thomas, you missed one of the wonderful little opportunistic windows in life.
Whether you’re a Kootenai County taxpayer with questions or a child needing desperate help navigating the legal system, Laurie was about the best friend you could find.
Last week, Laurie retired after 20 years service — and we emphasize that word, service — in the county treasurer’s office. Former Treasurer Tom Malzahn knew Laurie was pure gold to the public, and Malzahn’s replacement, Steve Matheson, quickly discovered the same.
“Laurie is a uniquely talented woman who will be nearly impossible to replace,” Matheson told Press reporter Madison Hardy. “Personally, I have relied upon her endless knowledge of Idaho statutes, tireless work ethic, and her uncanny political intuitions in tackling some extremely thorny issues.”
Beneath that calm and quiet exterior, still waters have always run deep with Laurie. She has been an incredibly astute political observer whose wisdom, when she’s cared to share it, was invaluable.
But that’s not the Laurie Thomas many know best. While she’s closing the door on a career of public service — before Malzahn appointed her 20 years ago, she worked for U.S. Sen. Larry Craig — it is her dedication to the community that really stands out.
Laurie has devoted countless hours to the NIC Alumni Association, Coeur d’Alene Rotary and CASA — Court-Appointed Special Advocates. As CASA chair, Laurie’s steady guidance was instrumental in ensuring that many local children, who through no fault of their own found themselves caught in the gears of the legal system, came through with minimal damage. Few unpaid jobs require the strength and compassion that every CASA volunteer possesses, and Laurie embodied these noble traits.
When Laurie’s husband died several years ago, her friends throughout the community were there for her. That’s part of the reason Laurie plans to spend her retirement years here — lucky for all of us.
To Laurie Thomas: Thanks for giving public service the good name it deserves. Selfishly we admit, we hope we have not heard the last from you because our community still has many needs you can help provide.