Longtime Crookston resident Elizabeth “Liz” Thompson, 87, passed away with her family by her side on March 9, 2022 at Touchmark in Fargo, ND.
Liz was born on May 7, 1934 in Fargo, ND to Bessie (Peterson) and John Hanson. She graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1952. She then attended Moorhead State Teacher’s College (MSTC), now MSUM, where she studied English and French and was a member of the Pi Mu Phi sorority.
She met her husband, Ron, as a freshman at MSTC in 1952. They married on September 12, 1953 in Fargo, ND. When Ron graduated in 1956 they moved to Crookston, MN where Ron would teach high school and coach for the next 31 years.
Their 63 year-long marriage was blessed with five children: Barbara Lynn, Beth Ann, David William, Jennifer Leigh and Karen Jean.
Liz stayed at home to raise the children until her youngest started school. After that she helped to start the Crookston Day Activity Center, serving both on its board and as a staff member. Her interest in working with people with developmental disabilities was due to the fact that her daughter, Barbie, was developmentally disabled. For 20 years she worked as the Director of the Resource Center for the Diocese of Crookston.
Throughout her life Liz was involved in a variety of musical pursuits. A classically trained singer, Liz sang at hundreds of weddings, funerals and various other events. She was also an accomplished violinist.
Liz was an active member of the community who had a heart for volunteering. Active at Trinity Lutheran Church for 65 years, she sang in the Senior Choir and Praise Singers, in addition to serving on the church council, being a confirmation mentor, teaching Sunday/Wednesday school, and serving on the Worship and Music Board. In addition, she volunteered as a reader for elementary school children, taped textbooks for students with visual impairments at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, was a mentor for TRUST (Teens Receive Unconditional Support Time), taught Bone Builders classes, was on the Board of the Crookston Civic Music League, served as chairman of the annual oratorio for many years, was active with the Artists Series, and a member of GFWC Mathien Club of Crookston.
She was a member of the Crookston Community Theatre, both as a performer and on the Board. She acted/sang in more than 50 musicals and plays, including a dinner theatre that she wrote the script for and directed. She was also on the Board of Directors for Valley Group Homes, on the Human Relations Committee for REM Group Homes, and on the Board of Camp Sunshine in Northern Minnesota for 20 years.
Because of her volunteer work Liz received a number of awards throughout her life. She was recognized as Outstanding Senior Citizen for Polk County in 2013 and went on to be runner up that year for the entire state of Minnesota. She also received the Outstanding Community Supporter of the Arts and Academics Award in 2006, the Northwest Minnesota Women's Fund Community Builder Award for Outstanding Mentor in 1999, Action Jackson Award for volunteering from RSVP, and the Woman of Achievement by the General Federation of Women's Clubs of Minnesota in 1997. In addition, she was honored as Crookston's "Experienced American" in 1996 for her contributions to the community.
Liz was also an avid bridge player, playing in both a couple's group with Ron and in a women’s group. She loved to read, do crossword puzzles, watch game shows, shop, and travel. She had a talent for writing poetry and authored a poem every year for her annual Christmas letter. She even had 2 poems published in Poetic Voices of America.
The family would like to thank the staff of Ethos Hospice and Touchmark, both of Fargo, for their loving and compassionate care of Liz. In addition, Liz's lifelong friend, Audrey Gerhardson, was a bright light and constant presence making the last 5 months of Liz's life the best they could be.
Liz is survived by her children: Beth (Rob) Haseltine of West Fargo, ND, David (Peggy) Thompson of San Juan Capistrano, CA, Jennifer (Dennis) Helmer of Crumpton, MD, and Karen Swatlowski of Crookston; grandchildren, Bailey (Matt) Krusen, Jordan Malmanger, and Jennifer, Megan and Stephan Swatlowski; great grandchildren, Elisabeth (Betsy), Ezra, Layla, Aiden, Lilly, Carter, Josiah, Raven, Havik, Jaxon and Zyer; brother-in-law Dennis Thompson of Sonora, CA and family friend, Jason Malmanger.
She is preceded in death by her husband Ron; daughter, Barbara Lynn; granddaughter, Jessica Swatlowski; son-in-law, Darin Swatlowski; her parents; sisters, Florence (Bill) Adair and Effie King; brothers-in-law, Bobby and Vern Thompson; sister-in-law, Jean Martin; and parents-in-law, Ricka and Carl Thompson.
There will be a visitation from 4-7:00 pm, with a prayer service at 5:00 pm, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston, MN. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 am, with a visitation one hour prior, on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston, MN. Both services will be livestreamed by going to the Elizabeth Thompson obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com 10 minutes before the scheduled starts and clicking on the prompt to view.
Memorials can be given in Liz’s name to Ethos Home Care and Hospice, Fargo, ND; Touchmark Foundation, Fargo, ND; Pirate Fine Arts Boosters (PFAB), Crookston; or Trinity Lutheran Church, Crookston.
The graveside committal service for Liz will be held at 9:00 a.m., Friday, May 13, 2022, at the Oakdale Cemetery in Crookston and will be livestreamed by going to her obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com and clicking on the prompt to view.