On August 21, 2020, we lost a bright light and an angel on earth who brought joy to many. Ethel Amy (Haakenson) Thompson passed away in the early morning surrounded by loved ones after a long battle with Alzheimer's.
Ethel Amy (Haakenson) Thompson was born on April 27, 1936, in Minot, North Dakota, to Melvin and Esther Haakenson.
She grew up on the family farm in tiny Maxbass, North Dakota, and attended school there. For her freshman and senior years of high school she attended Dakota Lutheran High School (where she met Larry). After graduating from high school, she attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, North Dakota, where she received her nursing degree.
Ethel married Lawrence Thompson on June 3, 1959, and they were able celebrate their 60th anniversary together last year.
Ethel, along with her pastor husband, lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and served in parishes in Medicine Lake, Mont., Rudyard, Mont., Camano Island, Wash., Connell, Wash., and Hazel Run, Minn.
Often, when Larry preached, Ethel played the organ or piano. They often sang together, and music was a gift they shared with many. After retiring, they lived in Darien, Ill., and Arlington, Wash., before Ethel got her wish to move back home to Bismarck, North Dakota.
Ethel's passion was serving. She made hundreds of quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and she made jeans quilts for her children, grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. One year, on her birthday, she set a goal of making 150 quilts. Of course, she met (and exceeded) that goal with the help of her sister, Mary.
She was full of joy, and she loved encouraging and reaching out to people. She learned to stamp her own cards, and she loved to include short inspirational stories or quotes in them. She kept a list of the hundreds of letters she sent, and that effort to connect and cheer was one of her many acts of service.
Ethel is survived by her husband, Lawrence Thompson (Bismarck), daughters Rachel Thompson (and Kim Searle), West Jordan, Utah, and Lois (and Carl) Grove, Everett, Wash.; grandchildren: Maaike and Phil McClure, McKane and Makayla Searle, Ciara Searle, and Clinton Grove; great-grandchildren Garion and Aleece McClure, sister Mary Haakenson and brothers John, Bob, and Dan Haakenson.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Melvin and Esther Haakenson and brothers, Teddy, Phil and Dave Haakenson.
In lieu of a gift, we ask that you would honor Ethel by spreading kindness and joy. Her life motto was "Blessed to be a blessing!"? If you prefer some kind of monetary gift, these would be ways to honor her: Heifer International, (www.heifer.org/give/giving-in-honor.html), Lutheran World Relief (www.lwr.org/ ways-to-give), the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org/ get-involved-now/donate) or any local charity that serves people near you.
Due to Covid19, a virtual memorial service and burial in Maxbass, will take place at a later time.
"The beauty of a life well-lived, never dies. It continues to embrace and inspire us." May memories of Ethel's joy, kindness, and love comfort you.