Verdine Ford Thompson was born on December 3rd, 1941 (four days before Pearl Harbor) , in Kilgore, Texas. She was the first child of John Wesley Ford and Verdine Brookes Ford. At age 79, she died Jan. 16th, at Life Care in Athens, TN. Previously, she lived at Dominion in the Memory Care unit more than a year with Dementia.
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Verdine grew up in Kilgore, graduated Kilgore High School, attended SMU in Dallas and earned an MS degree at Stephen F. Austin University and an MS at U.T. Knoxville. Verdine married James W. Thompson in 1963; they had one daughter, Susan Marie Thompson Berbee, who lives in OK. Susan and husband, Lenny, have five boys and one daughter. Verdine and Jim were pleased to celebrate fifty-seven years of marriage.
Although the Thompson's were native Texans, Verdine's family came to TN in 1971, joining the faculty family at Tennessee Wesleyan College (now University), where Jim taught for thirty-five years. For 5 years Verdine taught Special Education at Riceville Elementary; then she elected to serve as the manager of the Credit Union at Athens Products for many years. For a limited time, she also had her own income Tax business.
In many ways, Verdine was creative and her life was filled with diversity. In the 1980's she dealt with a diagnosis of clinical depression. Her response included development of depression support groups, studies of the illness, and (in 1990's) serving on the Tennessee Governor's Mental Health Planning Council. Her long service with the CONTACT HELPLINE led in 2014 to an award for 2,500 hours of crisis-call phone listening and a volunteer position as a NAMI mental health national consultant. In 2017, Verdine began to have mobility issues and to some degree was home-bound. A Dementia diagnosis, August 2019, resulted in the choice of full-time Memory-Care at Dominion. More recently, the need for nursing skills brought us to Life Care. Our family was well served by the agencies attending Verdine during hard times.
A Service of Memory will be at Trinity United Methodist Church, Saturday, January 23, at 2:00 P.M.Visits 1:00-2:00 P.M.
In lieu of flowers we suggest Alzheimer's/Dementia Research or your charity of choice.