In Loving Memory of Virginia “Ruth” Thompson
I’m Kim Hayman, Ruth & Charlie Thompson’s daughter and I feel very fortunate and privileged that my Dad, and my brothers, Chuck and Michael Thompson, have trusted me to represent our family in sharing with the community the news of Mom’s passing on October 10, 2023.
She was vibrant, intelligent, loving, positive, beautiful and uniquely creative. One rarely saw her without a smile. Today, Chuck, Michael and I agree our parents were the best role models we could’ve ever imagined. This tribute would feel incomplete if it didn’t also include Dad. Mom and Dad were a formidable team. And it all began on a blind date while attending Rice Institute. Dad says he knew she was the “one” and 66 years of marriage later prove their enviable love for each other. In our family, I believe my beloved Aunt Maxine (Mom’s sister) and her wonderful husband, Uncle Don Rather, belong in the same elite category of active, loving, exceptionally enduring and truly great teams.
Most may not know that mom was salutatorian of her high school and received a scholarship to Rice Institute as a chemistry major. “Chemistry?” we asked. She just smiled and said, “Too many hours in the lab, so I switched my major to English”. This slight adjustment fit perfectly in her active social calendar.
Mom was a voracious reader and loved nothing more than reading to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was known as “Gram” to them. Travis was the first grandson, then Chuck and Colleen had Allyson, Nikki and Max. Michael and Rebekah soon after had Zackary and Samantha.
Ally and Bryan had the first great grandson, Tristan, then they had Charley Lue. Nikki and Calvin have two boys, Hudson and Jaxson. Max and Paytin had the next great grandchild, Westin and Travis and Claudia had James, the youngest (so far) at 16 months.
Holidays were organized chaos and never a dull moment! Mom and Dad hosted and everyone looked forward to Mom’s delicious holiday classics. It was comfort food at its finest! She also had the uncanny ability to coordinate numerous side dishes so they would be hot and ready to eat at precisely the same time. She could win that skill challenge handily.
Playing bridge was another passion, especially duplicate bridge. Many of her closest friends came from her bridge groups. While playing this mentally challenging card game, conversations ranged from the exchanging of recipes, to the telling of family shenanigans, to espousing spirited political opinions. Mom loved every minute!
Dad was the first in the family to become involved with Paris Community Theater and Mom was swept up in the fun. The theater was another avenue of socializing with remarkable,
talented, diverse and resourceful individuals. When Mom wasn’t rehearsing lines with Dad, selling tickets, or planning theater fundraisers, she could be found behind a sewing machine creating costumes for musicals such as “The Sound of Music” and “Alice in Wonderland”.
When we were young, Mom put her heart into teaching Bible stories to preschoolers in children’s church. Her imaginative and unique lesson plans usually required a family “team approach”. Her enthusiasm was contagious. Once Mom needed an abandoned bird’s nest for a lesson. While Dad drove, she instructed Chuck, Mike and I to “be on the lookout” for the elusive nest. Once one was spotted, Dad was instructed to pull over on the side of the road and “encouraged” to climb the fence and shimmy up the tree to retrieve it. And he did. Mom could be persuasive.
Mom was also a problem solver, for instance, she thought most of the children’s Bible story books were too small and difficult to see from a distance when teaching. She decided that the book pages needed to be bigger, much bigger. Poster board, multi-colored magic markers, an overhead projector and a willing team of Bible school teachers brought the dream to fruition. Those story boards were used for years! I recall one specific incident about this project. Mom was attempting to draw a cute, fluffy tailed squirrel for one story, but instead her drawing more closely resembled a constipated weasel. It was so bad; we couldn’t stop laughing. Mom gave us the stink eye, but Dad came to her rescue. Lucky for her, Dad is a very talented artist and can look at a picture and precisely recreate it. She got her perfect squirrel!
Even facing several health challenges over the last few years, Mom’s positive attitude prevailed. She viewed these illnesses as inconvenient nuisances rather than obstacles and she couldn’t have persevered without Dad’s love and support. They are the embodiment of their marriage vows.
On a personal note, I am forever grateful to Mom and Dad for the role they played in Travis’ life. While I was in school and working, they drove him to countless baseball practices and games, made him thousands of meals and “midnight” snacks and read him hundreds of books. In large part, due to Mom and Dad’s influence and encouragement, Travis graduated from and played varsity baseball for Rice University, is an attorney residing in Queens, New York and is a model husband and father. Mom and Dad helped us raise a son of whom Dana Hayman (my husband), Kem Wright and I could not be prouder.
God bless you, Mom! And every single one of us in your family promise to do everything we can to fill your unfillable shoes.
Romans 8:18 “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”
To leave a message or tribute for the family please visit www.brighthollandfuneralhome.com