Chesterton Tribune



Betty Jean Thompson passes away

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Betty Jean Thompson passed away in Zion, Illinois, on April 27, 2020.

Betty was born in Valparaiso, IN, and raised in Chesterton.

Her parents were Joanne Kirkaldy and William Thompson, deceased.

She is survived by her brother David, a resident of Fairview, North Carolina.

Betty’s father owned and operated Thompson’s Dairy on the north side of Chesterton, where he processed fresh milk from local farmers and also operated an ice cream parlor. It was a high spot to visit for many years.

When Betty was six years old she suffered a bad fall in her back yard and the family soon learned that she also had tuberculosis of the bone. She was hospitalized for one year for specialized bone treatment. She was forced to miss first grade and was subsequently tutored by Mrs. Phyllis Canright, a neighbor and grandmother of the current editor of the Chesterton Tribune. Betty began to wear a prosthesis on her leg at that time and for the rest of her life. It did not deter her from “trying like everyone else”. She finished Chesterton Elementary School and graduated from Chesterton High School, Class of 1951.

Betty wanted to attend Valparaiso University has her father had, but he encouraged her to “be off on her own.” She graduated from Purdue with a BS in microbiology in 1956. How did that lead to law? When she was employed at Abbott Labs in North Chicago, in 1959, she began evening classes at Loyola University School of Law in Chicago., After four years of commuting for evening classes there, she graduated in 1963.

Though female attorneys were poorly received by the Bar at that time, Attorney Adeline Geo-Karis of Zion, Illinois, learned of Betty’s availability and offered her the position of First Associate at her office. Betty remained with her for 15 years and in 1979 she opened her own law office. Betty retired in 2001 and had many interesting memories of those years. She earned many achievements in her field. She believed that women are rightly in the roles of government in the legislature, the judiciary and many levels of the executive branches and always advocated for the same.

Betty was known for her wisdom, honesty and capability. Her wry sense of humor (so like her Scottish mother’s) always made her a welcome guest. Betty was a gourmet cook and fascinated gardener. She loved to pursue new avenues in both venues. Betty was a prolific reader, even from childhood when she won first place in the Chesterton Library’s summer reading contest. She also enjoyed jazz music, and travel, together if possible. Betty Visited England, Scotland, Italy, Greece, Brazil and Mexico. Betty was a loving pet owner at her lovely home in Zion, It is high on a bluff, not far from Illinois Sate Park. She said it often reminded her of her tiny tree house on Porter Avenue when she was 11.

Betty leaves behind her brother David, her neighbors Lee, John and Glenda, many cousins, including Frank and Colleen Kirkaldy, the entire staff at Rolling Hills Manor, and old friends, including Dorothy Weidman-Meyers, of Chesterton.

Betty was not the same as everyone else. Her father had told her, “If you can’t do good, at least do no harm.” Not only has she done good, she overcame life’s obstacles and did Very Good.



Posted 5/8/2020




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