Dr. Chiara Thomas Hensley
October 4, 1976 - December 8, 2019
Chiara was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan the third of seven children to Nola and Ervin L. Thomas. She was a precocious toddler, a vivacious youth and a gregarious young adult. Always curious, studious and resolute, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and a Doctorate degree in Higher Education Leadership and Administration. She served as a Professor, Program Director, and went on to become Assistant Vice President of Student & Academic Affairs at Eastern Michigan University. A member of the Baha'i Faith, she served in various capacities from developing curriculum for children and youth classes to serving on committees and assemblies for over 25 years.
Chiara was a brave warrior, a radiant and positive light, a mentor and teacher, a wise and collaborative leader, and a fun and loving family member and friend. She battled stage four breast cancer with courage, grace and dignity, keeping her focus on winning the cancer battle to raise her young son and daughter and her future dreams.
One of the dreams close to Chiara's heart was to develop an initiative to unite diverse women to explore our nobility and worthiness, qualities that can be so easily lost in childhood and during adolescence, young adulthood and throughout our lives. Chiara was instrumental in the creation of this initiative and felt a deep calling, a drive to survive, to fulfill what began as a vision and grew in conversations. She expressed in her final days that she would be a part of creating this whether in this realm or from the next.
We sense her spiritual presence in the work we do and are forever grateful for her noble and worthy example, her ambition to serve and make the world a better place, her profound ability to connect and make every friend feel special and significant. We remember her as she wanted to be remembered, as strong, calm, grateful and a servant to all of humanity.
In her last Facebook, she wrote:
It is! At the same time, we are phenomenally spirited to handle it all in stride and with grace! Today, may we all remember our resilience! Never forget our strength, personal power, and above all, our worthiness!