Kathleen Massey Thompson – Obituary

By  | March 14, 2018 | Filed under: Obituaries

She believed in angels.

Kathleen Massey Thompson, of Florence, Alabama, was the daughter of Clara Rauschenberg Massey and Nute Massey of Vina, Alabama. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert (Pete) Thompson, brother Carl F. Massey and sister Annie M. Hovater.

She is survived by her three daughters and sons-in-law, Clare and Miles Tager of Lansing, North Carolina, Grace and Turgut Gokturk of Naples, Florida, and Laura and John Dickie of Watsonville, California as well as grandson, Kel Williams of Asheville, North Carolina, granddaughter Coco Foy of South Lake Tahoe, California and two precious great-granddaughters, Lyuka Devers and Alice Murtha.

She is also survived by a special friend, Charlotte Carr of Florence.

In September of 1940, she married Pete Thompson of Brevard, North Carolina. They moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and began their life together in the delta lands of the south. Pete and Kathleen raised their three daughters in a small town in Arkansas where there were no mountains. Each summer the family would pile into the station wagon and head for the hills with a 16 foot Shasta travel trailer in tow. Her daughters grew up knowing the beauty and adventure of taking the backroads of Alabama and North Carolina. After Pete died, Kathleen returned home to Alabama. No matter where she traveled she always said that there was no place on earth as beautiful as Florence, Alabama.

Kathleen graduated from high school at 15 years of age and was the valedictorian of her class. She received a Bachelor of Science from Florence State Teachers College (now UNA) where she was elected to many offices and was voted most popular coed.

She was a member of Sigma Tau Delta International Honorary English Society. She received a Master’s of Library Science from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She was a high school librarian in Blytheville, Arkansas, and extension librarian for the state of Arkansas. She was also a library science instructor for Arkansas State University. Her professional life was well chosen. She was inquisitive and her thirst for knowledge was endless. She shared her love of reading with friends and family, believing a book was the best gift.

Kathleen visited 49 states, all countries of Europe and part of Asia. She was a long time active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Florence, serving in the ECW, a member of American Association of University Women (AAUW), and a member of their afternoon book group. She was an avid reader and bridge player, and volunteer at Kennedy Douglas Art Center. She helped organize the library at the W.C. Handy Home and Museum in Florence.

Kathleen lived by her own terms. She was strong willed and fiercely independent.

Only a few weeks before her passing she was still living on her own, driving to church, book group, Cloverdale Quilting group and bridge club. With the help of her devoted friends and community, she was able to go where she pleased and live life as she saw fit. Although her illness was intense, it was not prolonged, which was a blessing. Her daughters were with her around the clock so she was surrounded by love.

She loved to laugh and hated to cry. She was a true steel magnolia.

Her memorial service will be at Trinity Episcopal Church in Florence, Alabama, March 18, 2018, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Andrew C. Keyse officiating. All are welcome to stay afterward and share light refreshments in the Parrish Hall.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to AAUW University of North Alabama scholarship fund, Friends of the Library of Florence Lauderdale Public Library, St. Francis Project of Trinity Episcopal Church in Florence, Alabama or the charity of your choice.

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One Response to Kathleen Massey Thompson – Obituary

  1. Angela Nuran Gokturk March 18, 2018 at 11:01 am

    What a wonderful obituary, outlining the life of a remarkable woman. Sounds like Kathleen lived life to the fullest and her life is an inspiration to the rest of us.

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