Died peacefully on Saturday, December 8, 2018, after a brief illness, a week after celebrating her 94th birthday with family and friends. She was born Nov. 30, 1924, to Violet May Whittle and George Klingeman, one of four daughters.
She thought of her life in chapters. She was a child of the Great Depression; her family was at one point evicted, their belongings sold at a sheriff’s auction. As a young woman working at Temple University, she watched a generation march away to fight World War II and return mature beyond their years. She married Joseph Thompson on June 2, 1954, and with him raised three sons in Hopewell, N.J., and Rockton, Ill. She is survived by her son, Don and his wife, Jill; son, Doug, his wife, Natalie and daughters, Vanessa and Lauren; son, Steve and his wife Adda; and their half-sister, Nancy Thompson.
After her husband died in 1978, she began yet another chapter. She put all three boys and herself through college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching from Rockford College. Then she embarked on a new career as a Montessori teacher in Rockford, Ill., impacting the lives of students, some of whom kept in touch decades later. She earned a master’s degree in counseling from Northern Illinois University while continuing to teach Montessori, studying alongside students young enough to be her grandchildren. Inquisitive to the end, she belonged to two book clubs into her 90s and for her 94th birthday requested a subscription to The New York Times large-print edition.
She loved her extended family, camping, the seashore and traveling with her sons, including trips to Australia, England, Mexico and South America. In her later years she often toured the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum as co-pilot in her son's red convertible, top down. She worked out twice a week at the Ridgedale YMCA until a month before her death from complications of a heart arrhythmia. We invite family and friends to gather for a 10:30 a.m. visitation and 11 a.m. celebration of her life on Saturday, December 15, at David Lee Funeral Home, 1220 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata. Donations in lieu of flowers to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum