Linda Kay Thompson, 73, of Benton, AR passed away Sunday, February 14, 2021.
She was born in Monticello, AR, and graduated from North Little Rock High School in 1965.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Felicie Thompson and Charles Thompson. She is survived by her daughter Regina Owens; her brothers, Eddie Thompson (Karen), Clay Thompson, Bill Behr (Charla) and Rusty Thompson (Laura); and her sisters, Ann Black (Bert) and Barbara Rainey (Rick); and four nieces and two nephews.
Linda was the oldest of all the siblings and helped raise the younger ones. In her younger days she enjoyed camping and floating the Buffalo River, and she loved to travel taking many road trips to the Smokey Mountains, one of her favorite places. In her middle years, she really loved living and working on her 3 acres in Alexander. She always felt it was living out in the country with all the nature surrounding her.
She also enjoyed writing. She established and wrote two singles newsletters in Texas and North Carolina; she wrote a number of bold letters to the newspaper editors over the years about things she felt strongly about; she also enjoyed writing several short stories, and her letters to relatives kept us abreast of what was going on in our extended families.
In Texas she and her husband, Larry, were foster parents for several younger and older children over the years, and it was a dream come true for Linda when they got to adopt their daughter, Regina.
Linda has worked at many different jobs over the years, as well as having her own word processing business in Texas. She always enjoyed the variety, the challenge, and the freedom that working temporary jobs gave her.
Linda worked endless hours emailing news and updates to the members of the North Little Rock High School Class of 1965. Her classmates graduated with over 700 members and many have stayed unusually close. She was the glue that kept the class together, sending news of those who have passed away, as well as their family members passing's via group emails and maintenance of the active “Class of ’65” Group Facebook page. She, with a few other classmates, created a Directory with addresses and phone numbers to help them stay in touch. She also contributed to organizing class reunions, which have been held approximately every five years. Particularly important was the 50-year class reunion held in 2015 and attended by over 300. Upon hearing about Linda’s hospitalization, hundreds of well-wishes and loving encouragement were sent by email, Facebook and written cards from her classmates.
Linda has lived in North Little Rock, Fayetteville, Alexander and Benton, as well as Texas, North Carolina, and Kansas City.
She also had a great compassion for animals, and took in many stray dogs and cats through the years, the last being her beloved cat Sparky. Her family would appreciate any donations to be made to the Pulaski County Humane Society or any animal shelter of your choice.
Although there will not be a service at this time, all other arrangements are being made through Smith-Benton Funeral Home.
From her youngest brother Rusty:
As a younger brother, I guess big sisters are OK, although things started out a little rough, she dressed me up like a girl a few times (I can only assume that she must have misplaced her dolls), but as I grew she was always there for me, she made me feel welcome to tag along whenever I wanted, going to the lake and camping with her friends, inviting me to her parties so I could hang out with the older kids, and having me over for dinners with her family.
As we go through life, we start to understand that it's not as important to have a lot of friends as it is to have real friends, and Linda always seemed to have plenty of those.
She shared her time, she shared her friends, she shared her home, she shared her family with me, and along the way, we shared a few bumps in the road together. As big sisters go, I think I did OK! She will be in our hearts forever.
(may I please take off the dress now?)
From Linda’s dear friends, Larry Talley and Lyn Willbanks:
Linda loved to dance and was very good. She enjoyed the company of friends, whether entertaining in her home or gathering in various places. Linda was curious, adventurous and did not back down from a challenge. Linda loved her cat(s) unconditionally. She loved to read and was interested in many subjects and ideas. She was loyal to family and friends.
An avid reader, Linda read as many as 6-10 books a month and especially loved stories about romance and love overcoming all obstacles. In that same vein, Linda loved what she admitted were very sentimental stories of love and romance on the Hallmark Channel, especially during the Christmas holidays. Linda loved Christmas and enjoyed special trips out to see the festive lights, from touring neighborhoods known for unique and impressive decorations to the beautiful holiday light displays at Garvan Gardens. Linda's friends who were fortunate enough to share some of these holiday excursions with her will always think of her whenever Christmas lights begin to brighten the holiday nights.
Linda was also a lover of Nature, and treated all animals with kindness and compassion - even the ones she admitted were sometimes a nuisance, such as 'the occasional 'possum or raccoon that visited her mobile home in Alexander. She fed the birds daily and loved to watch them flock to her special feeders. Linda also loved taking long drives by herself into scenic areas of Arkansas, especially destinations like Mount Magazine and Petit Jean Mountain when autumn brought the hills alive with color. More than any other scenic area, Linda loved vacationing in her beloved Great Smoky Mountains, the area she said felt more like her real home than any other place she had ever lived or visited. She said she felt connected to that area in a spiritual way and her eyes would light up when she shared photographs of her trips there.
Always a caring person, Linda also loved her cats unconditionally, especially her beloved Sparky who was a part of her life for many years. It seems somehow more heartwarming than heartbreaking to know that Sparky died quietly the same day Linda passed away, as if to continue keeping her company in the hereafter. Those of us who knew Linda are comforted to know she and Sparky are together forever.
Unlike most people who feel anxiety when confronted by huge piles of organizational work and research numbers to sort through, Linda relished these challenges. She was able to methodically process great amounts of information and arrange it in a completely orderly way, much in the same way that she kept her sizable high school Wildcats senior class apprised of each others' comings and goings, location changes, contact information, and in many cases the losses of classmates and their family members. Linda approached this challenge in the same way she enjoyed working her puzzles and word games. When asked how she could manage to sort through and organize so much information, she would simply say, "My mind just works that way. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I turn chaos into something that's easy to understand."
Ask any of Linda's many friends and acquaintances about her character, and they will emphasize the fact that she was always loyal, devoted, and completely authentic in the way she lived her life, independent and forthright in her opinions but also always generous in spirit and willing to support any friend who might be in need of a willing ear and shoulder for venting feelings and frustrations or hopes and aspirations. In a world that is often fake, Linda dared to keep it real.
Linda liked to reminisce about the days when she was living in Texas and how much fun it was to go out dancing with friends. She would laughingly recall that in those days she would hit the dance floor early and remain there until the lights came on that indicated it was closing time. Linda always enjoyed having fun with friends and especially enjoyed going to places like Cracker Barrel for what she and a few close friends called T&D Thursdays - turkey and dressing. When she felt up to it, Linda would also prepare and serve outdoors a light lunch for a few friends who came to visit her home in Alexander that was surrounded by trees and a creek. She was fun and unassuming and her friends will always remember her natural warmth and affection.
While Linda has left many caring friends and loving family members behind for now, she will remain in our hearts and memories forever. She was and will always be someone who made the world a far better place simply by being her down-to-earth authentic self.
"Lamentation" by Larry Talley
I am re-posting this in honor of my sweet friend Linda Thompson, who passed away this week. She was a dear lady and one of the gentlest spirits I have ever known. I had given her several hand-embellished monoprints of my work as gifts and I was touched to see on her Facebook page how much of my recent work she had posted, even when she was in such decline. Rest in peace, Linda. You loved my Angels and now you are one of them.
To send flowers to Linda's family, please visit our floral store.