Eunie Thompson, 97, died comfortably in her sleep on February 17, 2023. She was surrounded by her family.
Eunice (Eunie) Alvina Thompson was born in Rushford, MN, July 15, 1925. She was the fifth of six children born to Carl and Christine (Hanson) Larson. In 1935, Eunie moved to Rochester, MN with her family. She graduated from Rochester High School in 1943 and married Lowell (Red) Lamont Thompson in 1947.
Eunie is survived by her four children: Kristine Norland (Richard), Nancy Davis, Jill Thompson Riese (Bruce Rolfsen) James (Marcia). Six grandchildren: Carl Davis (Jill), Jamie Ritchie (Matt), Matt Norland (Emma) , Stephanie Robinson (Kyle), Mark Norland (Vicky), Dustin Thompson (Kayla). Twelve great grandchildren: Brooks, Joshua, Curren, Rosie, Sadie, Merrill, Bennett, Theo, Ellery, Jacob, Blakely, Briar. One sister, Edith Thurber (Deloran) and 13 nieces and nephews (Jeff, Karen, Pam, Brad, Greg, Sandy, Janice, Lori, Sharon, Hope, Suzanne, Laurie, Chris) and many good friends at Realife and Zumbro Lutheran Church.
She was preceded in death by husband, "Red" Lowell, parents (Carl and Christine), in-laws (Gerry and Hazel), sisters (Maxine, Clarice), brothers (Bennett, Carl), nephews (Keith, Doug, Jeff), niece (Dawne), brothers-in-law (Paul, Eugene, Guy, Del, Harry) son-in-law (John) and many dear friends.
Eunie was most proud of raising her children and told us many times she would do it all over again, it was the happiest time in her life. She was a troop leader for Brownie, Girl and Boy Scouts when the children were young and also active at Zumbro Lutheran Church. She taught Sunday School, Bible School and assisted with the annual Norwegian Holiday Bazaar. The family spent vacations camping in a pop-up trailer that Red built. The "camp kitchen" was her domain and we all benefited from her flair for cooking outside. It was effortless for her to serve up pancakes and bacon in the woods, set up a hand washing station, keep the kitchen in top order and always have s'mores around the campfire. We didn't know at the time how special her efforts were.
Eunie enjoyed playing the piano, Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune was her favorite piece. She learned how to play the piano in grade school on a cardboard keyboard. She made sure we all had piano lessons growing up with a real piano. In 2013, Red surprised Eunice with a new piano for their 66th anniversary!
Eunie was very friendly and social. She loved meeting new people and asking where they grew up, who their parents were and where they went to high school, magically finding the six degrees of separation. Once in the emergency room she asked the doctor who his parents were. When we heard that, we knew she was going to be alright.
Eunie spent many good times with girlfriends in a club called the "Loonies", which started as a sewing group but ended up being a women's support group. Members included dear friend Dee Hargesheimer, Bettie Capps, Betty Colebeck, Barbara Mertz, Jane Finnbratten and Gin Horeck. Being a stay at home mom in the 1950s, she developed close friendships with many good neighbors. Eunie and Red met working at the Kruse Lumber Company in Rochester. Eunie was a bookkeeper in the office, Red worked in the lumber yard. When her boss announced Eunie’s employment to Red, he said, "I hired a girlfriend for you." The rest is history. Eunie's good friend, Bettie Capps, encouraged her to apply for employment at Mayo when she was in her 40s. She met many wonderful people while working and considered herself fortunate to be a Mayo employee. She was able to help with family living expenses and had excellent medical care. Mayo broadened her life and she was proud to work in the eye department (W7) for 20 years.
Red & Eunie were residents of Realife Cooperative (active senior independent living) for 25 years and both served on the board. They developed many close friendships there and became strong advocates for community living. The freedom of not owning a home was a decision they celebrated daily and became younger because of it. They celebrated 70 years of marriage just before Red passed in 2017. Eunie moved to Arbor Terrace after the loss of Red.
Red and Eunie traveled to Norway in 1981. They visited the Dybevik family farm, former home of Eunie’s grandfather, Bent. It was a trip she remembered fondly. After Red established Cabinet Craft, Inc. in 1961, Eunie was named Vice President. Together they traveled to many Cabinet and Woodworking business meetings, one in the Virgin Islands. Eunie also traveled to Hawaii with her sisters Edee and Maxine.
A celebration of Eunie's life will be held on Friday, February 24, at Zumbro Lutheran Church, 624 Third Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902. Service at 2pm, visitation an hour prior at the church. The service will be lived streamed at https://www.zumbrolutheran.org/funerals and if you are unable to livestream please call 855-438-5848 to listen in. The burial will follow the service at Oakwood Cemetery.
Condolences can be mailed to Mahn Funeral Home,1624 37th Street NW, Rochester, MN 55901, to be forwarded to the family or to children Kris, Nancy, Jill or James. Donations to Zumbro Lutheran Church or Mayo Hospice.
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