A private service will be held at a later date.
KENOSHA – Beloved mother and nana, Vera Angelina Thompson, 94, passed away at home on March 13, 2017 surrounded by her loving family. She was born on Nov. 18, 1922 in Kenosha. From a young age, Vera was an avid reader, excelled in school, receiving straight A’s and was independent, being the youngest of three raised by her Italian immigrant parents.
During WWII, Vera worked in the war effort packing parachutes and also in a bullet factory. After the war ended, she worked at Fort Sheridan in the discharge department. When Clarence Thompson’s papers came across her desk, the brother of her good friend, she delivered them to him personally and they met – it was love at first sight. Romance followed and they married shortly thereafter on Sept. 14, 1946.
“Bud” started his own masonry business and built their first house (of two) on Pershing Blvd. A year later, the first of three children arrived. Vera began her lifelong passion with interior design and homemaking skills as well as becoming an excellent cook, as she and Bud lovingly raised their family. The kids will never forget the aroma of Italian food, apple pie or cinnamon rolls made from scratch. Vera was a long-time parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and volunteered to take the nuns to appointments, errands or wherever they needed to go. She was an avid bridge player, golfer, a member of the Junior League, Allons League and Kenosha Woman’s Club. She and Bud enjoyed many years at Kenosha Country Club with their friends and introduced their children to the game of golf they all still enjoy today. Vera kept her slim figure & beautiful looks with daily exercise, healthy eating & vitamin supplements before it was popular. Mom loved working out with Jack LaLanne’s TV program and later with videos. Most Saturdays she went to the Health Food Store on 63rd St. to get fresh squeezed carrot juice, natural foods and vitamins. No soda or junk/fast food in the Thompson house! In Arizona she also enjoyed daily walks.
Mom took many self-improvement classes, enjoyed learning new things and being creative. She participated in classes at the CYC including flower arranging, making Christmas ornaments, candle making, hat making, painting pictures & china decoupage. She even painted a car by hand once that dad had bought for them. She also painted the girls piano pink! She learned how to sew and made incredible costumes for Halloween parties that they attended.
Vera was excellent at refurbishing antique furniture, from stripping & staining to applying antiquing. She refinished all the cabinetry & woodwork at the Pershing Blvd. house as well as pieces for the kids. In Arizona, she stained all the wrought iron gates & wall openings a beautiful blue/green patina to resemble aged copper.
Vera & Bud became known as the best dressed couple in Kenosha. They complimented each other with their good looks, gorgeous clothing & sparkling personalities. People attended mass at St. Mary’s to see their clothing ensembles complete with matching shoes, hats & handbag. Mom bought beautiful fabrics at Fishman’s Fabric in Chicago and had outfits sewn by Ada Buciuni to her specifications. Always fashionably dressed and perfectly coiffed, she looked like one of the models straight out of Vogue & Bazaar. Vera & Bud were also excellent dancers after taking classes at Arthur Murray. They were a magnificent picture of grace as they joyfully glided across the dance floor.
When the children all became teenagers, Vera became a realtor and got her broker’s license working with Stanich Realtors in Kenosha. She was successful and became a member of SRI’s $2 million dollar club.
Vera had fun decorating their beautiful homes in Kenosha and Scottsdale, AZ where she and Bud lived after retirement for 33 years. They loved having family visit and enjoyed many happy years there. Whenever the kids came to visit, there was always a large pot of homemade pasta, sauce and sausage or meatballs and homemade ravioli beyond compare. They also made many special memories as charter members of the Gainey Ranch CC where she made a hole in one on #4 at the Lakes Course on May 19, 1991. Vera enjoyed many years working part time at Crabtree & Evelyn, Cherubini and Bradberry Antiques in Scottsdale, which was a perfect fit for her.
Her greatest joys were taking care of her husband, children & grandchildren. She was very proud of all of them and delighted in telling friends & family about all the wonderful things they were doing.
Mom never had a bad word to say about anyone although she might give you her strong opinion on your clothing or appearance! She never, ever complained and to her last breath she said she was FINE. She was an ultra-strong, independent, faithful woman with elegance, beauty, grace, wit & intelligence.
Vera deeply loved her family and was a devoted, caring and loving daughter, wife, mother, and Nana. She will be missed dearly. Vera was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence “Bud” Thompson, parents Carmen & Eufemia Suriano, sister, Erma Martino & brother, Frank Suriano. She is survived by her three children: Pamela (Dene) Cady, Candace (Robert) LaMacchia, and Gregg (Diane) Thompson and also her six grandchildren: Michael Thompson, Christina (Jeff) Olson, Robert LaMacchia, Eric Thompson, Elena Thompson and Elizabeth Thompson.
A special thank you to Candy LaMacchia for her loving attention over the last 4 years and to caregivers Olga Henkel & Diane Thompson who provided compassionate & meticulous care of Vera over the past two months.
A ceremony will be held at later date for the family to attend.