"... Her work was extraordinary because of her intelligence, her lively spirit and great sense of humor, and most importantly her commitment to the role of a strong press in a healthy democracy."
No question seemed off-limits
Colleagues remember her as a genuinely fearless woman who asked the toughest questions of presidents, no matter their party.
In January 2009, as President George Bush was preparing to leave office, Thomas aimed her editorial guns at him and his administration.
Among her criticisms: that before the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, administration officials ignored "significant early warnings of an imminent strike against the U.S."
In a commentary, she slammed Bush for what she considered his failings, including leading the country "into a senseless war against Iraq, a calamity still under way as he leaves office almost six years after the invasion."
She considered him "the worst president ever."
Thomas embraced the freedoms of a columnist with vigor.
"I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter," Thomas told an audience at the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) in late 2002. "Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'"
One afternoon in October 2009, she targeted President Barack Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, during the daily briefing.
Health care reform was being debated at the time, and Thomas asked Gibbs every day whether a public option would be part of the package.
In the back-and-forth that ensued, Thomas said that she already had reached a conclusion but could not get a straight answer from the presidential spokesman.
"Then why do you keep asking me?" Gibbs inquired.
"Because I want your conscience to bother you," Thomas replied.
The room broke into laughter as Gibbs turned red.