Helen Louise Thompson, 86, formerly of Wilmington, Ohio, passed away on July 18, 2009, in Pagosa Springs.
She was born to the late Mildred and Richard Shelby Thompson, Sr., Nov. 5, 1922, in Sabina, Ohio, the fourth of six children. She graduated from Wilmington High School in the Class of 1940.
During World War II, she served in the WAVES, beginning her training at Hunter College, in Bronx, New York, as seaman. She was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate Third Class when honorably discharged December 3, 1945. She recalled, with great joy, playing softball with famed tap dancer Gene Kelly while at NAS Anacostia D.C., and parking planes for many dignitaries.
Helen was extremely skilled in many things, including being a champion bowler, having more trophies than room to display them. Early in life, she graduated from cosmetology school in Springfield, Ohio, and then had no time to apply the skills she had learned. She was a silversmith to perfection, and also enjoyed making hand-tooled leather items for her family. She purchased a kiln and crafted pottery bowls, plates and cups, and yard animals. Later, she purchased a knitting machine and made fine, forever-lasting sweaters and scarves for friends and family. She always enjoyed trips to play the slots at Sky Ute Casino.
During her lifetime Helen constructed buildings by herself, and crafted one-of-a-kind furniture. She crafted each skill to perfection, and then went on to another challenge.
In the late 1940s, Helen was the first woman to own a motorcycle in Wilmington, Ohio. She was a member of The Wilmington Rangers Motorcycle Club, a well-dressed group of men and woman who had a love and respect for motorcycles. She won an award for being the Best Dressed Lady Rider at one of the many events the entire club attended. As a group, they traveled via motorcycles to Yellowstone Park, in uniforms similar to motorcycle police of those times.
Helen accomplished everything in life she wanted to do. She wrote the book on being strong-willed and determined.
She retired from Los Alamos Atomic Energy Lab, where she was a supervisor.
Helen is survived by one brother, Homer S. (Margaret) Thompson, of Cincinnati, Ohio; sisters Dorothy Lauman of Davie, Florida, and Mary Lou (David) Sprowle of Pagosa Springs, numerous nieces, nephews and friends, and her faithful dog, Babe.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two brothers, Merriel E. Thompson, and Richard Shelby Thompson, Jr.
Cremation has occurred. There will be no services at this time. Helen will be buried at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, N.M. Memorial contributions can be made to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, P.O. Box 2230, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Spay/Neuter Program.