Elizabeth (Betty) Gertrude Thompson, passed away peacefully after ninety-seven joyous years on earth in her Osterville, MA home on January 8, 2019. In passing she was surrounded and is survived by her four children: Anne, Bill, Mary and Jim Thompson and her ninety-five year old beloved sister, Marjorie Keary.
Born in 1922, Betty was welcomed into the world by James and Annie Keary of Brookline, Massachusetts, she was the fifth of six children. At an early age, Betty aspired to a life on the stage. Though this dream never materialized, throughout her life, Betty never passed on an opportunity to sing or dance. Instead of a life in the theatre, Betty graduated from Newton High School and began a professional life in banking and the corporate world. She never tired of telling stories of how she demanded and received a “man’s salary” throughout these years.
In 1955, “The Right Guy” came along and Betty married William (Bill) Joseph Thompson. They began their life together on the University of Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, Indiana where Bill was a professor. In Indiana, Betty’s lifelong love of The Fighting Irish began and so too did her family. Her eldest children Anne and Bill were both born Hoosiers with Mary and Jim coming along when the family moved to Massachusetts as Bill Sr. pursued a career change.
After a brief stop in Westport, Connecticut the family moved to Brussels, Belgium in 1973 where Bill worked for ITT. Though, she never learned much French, Betty made the most of her six years in Europe, travelling extensively throughout the continent with her four kids in tow. Vienna, London, Paris and the Costa del Sol were among her favorite landing sites. While in Belgium, Betty was an indefatigable volunteer for the International School of Brussels and was one of the founding members of that school’s booster club.
At the close of the Seventies, her family moved back to the States, where Betty set up a boisterous homestead in Osterville, Massachusetts and became a regular communicant at Our Lady of Assumption. A longtime member of The Oyster Harbors Club, Betty was quite a competitor on the links. And after losing her husband in 1981, golf provided her an area of focus and camaraderie.
From her perch in Osterville, Betty cultivated her expanding legacy. She watched daughter Anne (at her mother’s suggestion) take up a career in television journalism and become a longtime correspondent for NBC Nightly News. Similarly, daughter Mary pursued a career in financial journalism working for both Bloomberg and CNBC before moving abroad last year with her husband, the conveniently named, Bruce Thompson.
Grandchildren were among the cherished gifts in Betty’s life. Her son Bill and his former wife Jill brought four strapping lads into the world. “Nana” took endless delight in spoiling Liam, Alistair, Rowan and “My Flynn.” And Betty’s “Baby” Jimmy and his wife Laurie provided the grande dame with two more kids to love: Drew and her fiery, Fiona.
In these final years, Betty received much loved visits from her many, many friends, nieces, nephews and cousins. Over the past decade, she had the great joy of sharing her home with her sister, Marjie. They spent the days recounting cherished stories from the past, driving around their little hometown and reveling in the friendship and tenderness of their extraordinary caregivers, Jan Nelson and Rosilene Dos Santos Silva for whom the family is forever grateful.
To what did she owe such a rich and healthy life? Betty would be the first to tell you, she never passed up a chance to dance, laugh, sing or shop. There was always a way for faith and friends to help make things work. And there was no better laugh than the one enjoyed at her own expense. A nightly highball was also never a bad idea. Betty was one of a kind and she will be dearly missed.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday January 11, 2020 at 11:30 AM in Our Lady of Assumption Church, Wianno Ave. Osterville. Burial will be at a later date.
Memorial contributions in Betty’s memory may be made to VNA of Cape Cod Hospice, 434 Route 134, Suite D3, South Dennis, MA 02660 or to The Bill & Betty Thompson Scholarship Fund, University of Notre Dame, 405 Main Building, Notre Dame, IN 46556. http:giving.nd.edu/ThompsonScholarship