Reflections on the Life of
Bessie Pearl Thompson
Bessie Pearl Thompson
Bessie Pearl Thompson quietly transitioned from this world on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.
Bessie was born on August 23, 1927, to the late C. Eugene McGowan and Dollie Drummond in Cuba, Alabama. She was the second eldest of nine children. Bessie confessed her faith in Christ at an early age and she lived that faith throughout her entire life.
She completed her grammar school and high school education in Cuba, Alabama, and soon thereafter moved to Chicago.
Bessie met the love of her life Arthur R. Thompson on the CTA "El" train as she was heading home from work. Awestruck by her beauty and countenance, Arthur deliberately missed his stop and offered to treat Bessie to an ice cream cone and to walk her home. The rest, as they say, is history. They were joined in holy matrimony on September 8, 1947.
As a devout Catholic, Bessie strongly believed in family and one year after her marriage to Arthur, gave birth to their eldest son, Damon. Over the next 14 years, their union produced Kaye, Michael, Arthur II (Ray), Anthony and Marc.
Bessie's faith in God was paramount to her as she partnered with Arthur to raise children who also shared their deep-seated confidence in the Lord. She practiced her Catholic faith along with her family at Corpus Christi, St. Leo's Catholic Church and St. Ailbe Catholic Church. Bessie participated in each of her parish homes, working on numerous committees, women's groups and fundraisers. She also supported the values of Catholic education. She continued her devotion and commitment to the Lord, and in particular, spent the last 15 years as an active member of Holy Name Cathedral Parish (Roman Catholic).
Bess, as many of her friends called her, had a vibrant career as a retail executive at the Aldens Catalog Distribution Center for over 10 years. After raising her family, she continued in retail sales at Marshall Field and Company. For 22 years, she was an outstanding sales executive, first at the flagship State Street store. She advanced her position to Sr. Executive Buyer and was instrumental in expanding the Water Tower store located on the world-renowned Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Bess was a highly-respected employee and leader, receiving recognition and numerous awards for her service and dedication.
Bessie was dedicated to her husband and six children, providing them a home filled with discipline, love and laughter. She was so beloved by her family that they affectionately started referring to her as "Mama T." Mama T nurtured each and every member of her family and always put their needs before her own. Year after year, she never missed acknowledging a family member's special moment, whether it was a birthday, anniversary or graduation.
Mama T will be remembered especially for her exceptional cooking, rivaling any Michelin-starred restaurant. She would often successfully recreate delicious dishes from some of the best restaurants in the nation. She exemplified class and elegance, only exceeded by her warm, loving heart. To know her, was to love her. She was truly a virtuous woman.
Bessie leaves cherished and loving memories to her children: Kaye, Michael, (Michele), Ray, (Geralyn), Anthony and Marc (Cherie); her grandchildren: Mackenzie, Michael Jamaal (Ashlee), Michael Patrick, Kafi (Jimi), Marc Anthony (Jamie) Aaron, Sydney, Jeremy, Jason, Marché and Camaria; her great-grandchildren: Jeremiah, Elijah, Michael Amari, Jalen, Jade and Aaron, Jr.; her brothers: Frank (Lillie Minniefield) and Jesse Horn. She was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Thompson; parents; six other siblings; and son, Damon Thompson. Bessie owes a debt of gratitude to her dear friend and neighbor, Norma Mullon. Bessie will continue to be missed by a host of family, friends and neighbors.