Betty Jean Thompson
passed away in Zion, Illinois, on April 27, 2020.
Betty was born in
Valparaiso, IN, and raised in Chesterton.
Her parents were
Joanne Kirkaldy and William Thompson, deceased.
She is survived by
her brother David, a resident of Fairview, North Carolina.
owned and operated Thompson’s Dairy on the north side of Chesterton, where
he processed fresh milk from local farmers and also operated an ice cream
parlor. It was a high spot to visit for many years.
When Betty was six
years old she suffered a bad fall in her back yard and the family soon
learned that she also had tuberculosis of the bone. She was hospitalized for
one year for specialized bone treatment. She was forced to miss first grade
and was subsequently tutored by Mrs. Phyllis Canright, a neighbor and
grandmother of the current editor of the Chesterton Tribune. Betty
began to wear a prosthesis on her leg at that time and for the rest of her
life. It did not deter her from “trying like everyone else”. She finished
Chesterton Elementary School and graduated from Chesterton High School,
Class of 1951.
Betty wanted to
attend Valparaiso University has her father had, but he encouraged her to
“be off on her own.” She graduated from Purdue with a BS in microbiology in
1956. How did that lead to law? When she was employed at Abbott Labs in
North Chicago, in 1959, she began evening classes at Loyola University
School of Law in Chicago., After four years of commuting for evening classes
there, she graduated in 1963.
attorneys were poorly received by the Bar at that time, Attorney Adeline
Geo-Karis of Zion, Illinois, learned of Betty’s availability and offered her
the position of First Associate at her office. Betty remained with her for
15 years and in 1979 she opened her own law office. Betty retired in 2001
and had many interesting memories of those years. She earned many
achievements in her field. She believed that women are rightly in the roles
of government in the legislature, the judiciary and many levels of the
executive branches and always advocated for the same.
Betty was known for
her wisdom, honesty and capability. Her wry sense of humor (so like her
Scottish mother’s) always made her a welcome guest. Betty was a gourmet cook
and fascinated gardener. She loved to pursue new avenues in both venues.
Betty was a prolific reader, even from childhood when she won first place in
the Chesterton Library’s summer reading contest. She also enjoyed jazz
music, and travel, together if possible. Betty Visited England, Scotland,
Italy, Greece, Brazil and Mexico. Betty was a loving pet owner at her lovely
home in Zion, It is high on a bluff, not far from Illinois Sate Park. She
said it often reminded her of her tiny tree house on Porter Avenue when she
Betty leaves behind
her brother David, her neighbors Lee, John and Glenda, many cousins,
including Frank and Colleen Kirkaldy, the entire staff at Rolling Hills
Manor, and old friends, including Dorothy Weidman-Meyers, of Chesterton.
Betty was not the
same as everyone else. Her father had told her, “If you can’t do good, at
least do no harm.” Not only has she done good, she overcame life’s obstacles
and did Very Good.