On Monday morning, March 12, 1945, a baby girl was born into the family of Lee Culton and Blanche Harper Willis. She was their fourth child. They named her Linda Lou. Linda was a precocious child. She was always wise beyond her years. So, much so, that she took on the role of “second mom” to her younger siblings. She was always a nurturer, taking care of everyone. Making sure everyone was okay. She was preceptive when it came to the personalities of her siblings. As a young girl, she wrote and directed plays for her siblings to present to our parents at Easter and Christmas. Long before her career choice of Social Work, she counseled friends and family members on many levels.
Linda was educated in the Bienville Parish School System. She attended Central Elementary in Bienville, LA where her father, Lee C. Willis was the principal. Her high school years were spent at Shady Grove High School in Saline, Louisiana where she graduated in 1964. On to college! She entered Grambling College (now Grambling State University) in 1964. After two years at Grambling, she transferred to Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She met and married James Thompson on November 24, 1966, and to this union, two sons were born.
Linda received her Bachelor of Arts and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Portland State University. This led to her career as a counselor with Oregon State Children Division. During this time, she became a mentor and role model for many of the children she served. Always looking for a way to encourage and inspire the youth, she formed the first Drill Team at her school. Although she loved the children and her job, in 2000, she decided it was time to retire.
Linda accepted Christ at an early age and joined St. Duty CME Church in Arcadia. She was active in practically every auxiliary of the church. She loved attending the Sunday School Conventions, Annual Conferences, and Leadership Training School in Grambling, Louisiana. Linda continued to be a servant leader as she became an adult. She served many years as a youth director and Board of Christian Education Director in the Ninth Episcopal District. She never lost her zest for serving God and making Disciples for Christ. Even as her health diminished, she continued to write plays for special occasions at the Church.
On May 3rd, God knew that she was tired and called His daughter home to dwell with him in paradise glories. She leaves to cherish her memory and forever hold her in their hearts, two sons, James Thompson (Jacquelyn), and Jonathan Thompson of Portland, OR. Five grandchildren, Isaiah Thompson, LaQue’ Thompson, Elijah Thompson, Janiya Thompson of Portland, OR, and Ericka Thompson of Nashville, TN. Three great-grandchildren, Pryce Qualls, Carsen Qualls of Portland, OR, and Serenity McDonald of Nashville, TN. Three sisters, Mamie Gray (Felix) of Yakima, WA, Pinkie McMurray of Jackson, MS, and Sandra Cooper of El Dorado, AR. One brother, Ennis Willis (Carolyn) of Dallas, TX, and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Linda always started her prayers with “Father, I stretch my hands, to thee; no other help I know. If thou withdraw, thou self from me, O whither shall I go?” God did not withdraw Himself from her, but she has gone to be with Him. Rest in Paradise Glory with God.