Bertha (Parker) Thompson

January 31, 1950 - January 18, 2020


La Grande

Bertha Louise (Parker) Thompson, 69, of La Grande, passed away on Jan. 18, 2020, at Grande Ronde Hospital. A memorial service was held on January 25 at La Grande First Baptist Church.

Bertha was born Jan. 31, 1950, in Sweet Home, Oregon, to Walter and Anna (Deardorff) Parker. In school Bertha was in Honor Society and National Honor Society, played volleyball, was in class plays, held a class office and a student body office. She graduated from Crane Union High School as valedictorian of her class in 1967. She attended business school in Boise, Idaho, and later met and married Robert “Tom” Thompson, which took her on a journey to Milton, Florida, where her only son, Aaron Thomas Thompson, was born Sept. 2, 1972. Together they lived in Iwakuni, Japan, and San Diego, California.

Bertha and Aaron relocated to John Day, Oregon, for several years prior to moving to Union, and then La Grande in the early 1980s. In La Grande she found her church family at First Baptist Church and she adored this congregation. She planted herself firmly in the first row, and at her memorial service a member of the fellowship joked about retiring her chair. She was a prayer warrior, sang in the church choir for a time, attended various and sundry (a favorite expression of hers) small groups and retreats and was known to love a church potluck.

Bertha returned to college in 2006 and earned her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in English. She had such an affinity for words, language and learning. She also began working as a pharmacy clerk at Red Cross United Drug in 2006 and was known as the “filing guru” and enjoyed many other responsibilities, often remarking it was her favorite job. She had also spent many years working for The Nickel, an ad newspaper, and as an editor for a publishing company. Bertha was passionate about books, both reading them and collecting them throughout her lifetime. She also enjoyed writing, and many loved her for her quick wit and extensive vocabulary.

Bertha crocheted for hours on end, gifting so many with her afghans throughout the years. She was a member of the Happy Hookers crocheting club. Bertha had a great love and appreciation for music from the great Christian gospels to heavy metal. She sang alto beautifully and undoubtedly knew all of the words in the hymnal but could also sing along to other favorites such as Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, Metallica and the like. Her favorite musical artist was, no doubt, her son, Aaron.

Bertha was loved and appreciated by so many. We will miss her. She is survived by her son, Aaron Thompson of La Grande; sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Bud Stewart of Palmer, Alaska; brothers and sisters-in-law, Walt and Susan Parker of Council, Idaho, and Raymond “R.J.” and Liz Parker of Republic, Washington; her three grandchildren, Ryatt Thompson, Bryce Langley and Lindsay Roberson; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Anna Parker; brother, Paul Parker; and sister, Peggy Tudor.

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