E. Margaret Thompson

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E. Margaret Thompson-December 29, 1917 to April 5, 2011-lived her 93 years with great spirit.

She was born in Fort Collins, Colo., to Charles Edward and Attie Dean Mellon. Along with her sister, Winona, the family lived on small farms outside of Fort Collins. At 14 Margaret met her future husband, Layton Thompson, who was attending Colorado State College. At 16, she entered CSC and they graduated together in June of 1939. They were married in August and moved to Bozeman for Layton to work toward a Master's Degree.

On the way, they passed through Grand Teton National Park, which began a love affair with those mountains. She returned to the Tetons every year until she was unable, and it remains the family favorite.

After obtaining graduate degrees elsewhere, Layton became a professor of Agricultural Economics at Montana State College. When they returned to Bozeman, they found a warm welcome in the Methodist Church and it became their home. Margaret was a busy mother of four-sewing clothing for children and dolls, gardening and canning, raising chickens, and supervising children's activities. Her flowers at 918 S. Tracy were well-known.

Family fun involved camping and hiking, especially with dear friends Ralph and Marian Challender. She became very active in Girls Scouts, progressing to Vice President of the State Council. She taught Sunday school then held many church offices. Margaret then loved working as church secretary for 10 years, until they both retired. In retirement Margaret studied genealogy and wrote books about several branches of the family, as well as a history of the Bozeman Methodist Church. They joined Sons of Norway.

Travel was another family passion. There were yearly trips to Colorado and Kansas to visit family. In 1955 the whole family went on a three-month trailer trip to 33 states. After retirement, they enjoyed many trips to Canada, Scandinavia, and Europe.

Margaret's family is especially proud of her warm, progressive heart. As her family grew, so did her unstinting love of that family without regard to skin color, sexual orientation, or religious difference. She also embraced the computer at 77-one of our last best memories is seeing her at 93 sitting at the computer with her 6-year-old great-grandson Keelan on her lap, teaching him a game. She had an indomitable spirit.

The most important thing in her life was her family: son Edward Thompson and wife Cindy with their two sons Joe (Chanda) and Michael (Becky) and four grandchildren; daughter Marilyn Washington and husband Ted and daughter Lori; daughter Betty Wing and husband Steve; and daughter Nancy Flikkema and former husband Ken with their children Kristi (Eric) Gaines, Lisa Flikkema and Brian Flikkema, and two grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, and husband, and son-in-law, Ted Washington.

A Graveside Service for will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, at Sunset Memorial Park. A Memorial Service will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Bozeman United Methodist Church.

The family is forever grateful to the wonderful staff at Birchwood who also became Margaret's family, and to Hospice. The family suggests tributes to Bozeman United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 121 S. Willson, Bozeman, MT 59715; or the Bozeman Deaconess Foundation designated for Hospice, 931 Highland Blvd, Suite 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com

Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 10, 2011
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