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Mary E. Forney Thompson
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A memorial service was held on Saturday at Hessel Church in Sebastopol for Mary Edith Forney Thompson, 101, of Santa Rosa. The former Ceres resident died April 5, 2009 at the Skilled Nursing Facility at Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa following a stroke a month ago.

Private interment was at Sebastopol Memorial Lawn under the direction of Daniels Chapel of the Roses Funeral and Cremation Services.

Mrs. Thompson was the oldest surviving graduate of Ceres High School, having graduated in 1925. She left Ceres in 1926.

Born May 23, 1907 in Albion, Neb., Mary was the daughter of Frank and Grace Caulkins Forney and raised in Ceres. While in Ceres she met Walter C. Thompson, who had moved from Eagle, Colo. and they married on July 3, 1926. They lived in various California locations, including Modesto, Imperial Valley, Turlock, Tracy, Livermore, Willits and eventually moved to Santa Rosa in 1948. In 1949 she and Walter purchased Weeks Hardware in Sebastopol, which later became Weeks Drilling and Pump Co., still managed today by the Thompson family. Living alone for almost 50 years, she managed her own household up until the very end. She was active in her church.

In 1975, she was named Woman of the Year by the Associated Drilling Contractors of California and honored by the California Groundwater Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. The Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce honored her with its Hall of Fame Award in 2002.

Mary leaves behind four sons, Wayne Thompson of Claremont, Jerry Thompson of Sebastopol, and Bob Thompson and Ward Thompson, both of Santa Rosa; her grandchildren, Lori Connolly of Lake Arrowhead, Barton Thompson of Claremont, Kathy Deiner of Paradise, Chris Thompson of Sebastopol, Robert Thompson, Julie Thompson, all of Santa Rosa, Mike Thompson of Rocklin and Jeff Thompson of Piedmont; and 17 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter in 1959, brothers Wendell and Glen and sisters Phyllis and Edna, and grandsons Mark and Gregory.

Remembrances may be sent to the Hessel Church Memorial Fund, 5060 Hessel Ave., Sebastopol, CA 95472.

-Ceres (Calif.) Courier /April 15, 2009