Tucson Rodeo Parade Honors Louise Thomas as 2024 Grand Marshal

Tucson, Ariz. (Feb. 7, 2024) The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee has chosen Louise Thomas, founder of Angel Charity for Children, Inc. as its 2024 Rodeo Parade Grand Marshal. Louise is an everyday hero, an “Angel” who turned a personal tragedy into a cause that has positively impacted the lives of more than a million children throughout Pima County, Arizona.

The family tragedy was the loss of her 9-year-old son Michael to lymphoma in 1979. From her personal grief, Louise has brought hope for a better life for the children in our
community. Since Angel Charity was founded in 1983, the all-volunteer organization she spearheaded has touched more than 1 million children, 129 nonprofit children’s agency projects, and raised more than $31 million to improve lives of children in Pima County, Arizona.

In 1982, she was asked to join the board of directors of the Ronald McDonald House and develop a plan to pay off the property’s mortgage. Facing the challenge full throttle, she and co-founder/vice chair, the late Jane Loew Sharples, started Angel Charity for Children. With Louise’s leadership over 41 years, hundreds of Angel volunteers have annually raised between $750,000 to $1,000,000 to fund nonprofits serving children’s needs by funding brick and mortar projects to build or renovate facilities, retiring mortgages, social services, health care, media research, education, and the arts. Her inspiration to help others also launched an endowed chair in pediatric cancer research
and inspired the launch of another nonprofit organization called PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers) in Phoenix, Arizona. PANDA has raised over $26 million for the Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona.

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee recognizes Louise’s dedication and charitable efforts for Southern Arizona’s children and is proud to honor her as the 2024 Parade Grand Marshal.