Ernest "Dewey" ThompsonSeptember 11, 2017
Ernest “Dewey” Thompson, age 77, of Ferryville, passed away on September 11th, 2017 at the Gunderson Health System in La Crosse. He was born on December 22nd, 1939 in Elgin IL to Wayne and Alice (Chelin) Thompson. He grew up in Batavia IL and while in high school worked at the local drugstore and that experience influenced his story telling, for which he was known his entire life. He attended the University of Illinois and graduated from Aurora College with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. While in college he met his future wife Marjorie Ann Cole and they were married on July 7,1961. They settled in Batavia, had 3 children and while the family grew they loved gardening, antiquing, and were closely involved with the Fox Valley Presbyterian Church.
Dewey had an incredible history of social service work with individuals with disabilities. He was appointed Executive Director in 1966 for the Aurora Association for the Mentally Retarded, which today is named the Association for Individual Development. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director he spent 4 years working at the Kane County Youth Home in Geneva IL. He was also a former Special Education Teacher at Simmons Jr. High in Aurora IL as well as an adjunct professor at Judson and Aurora College. Dewey’s career at AID extended over 32 years of dedicated service. It was under his supervision and his vision that the agency grew from serving 8 clients to serving over 1,000 clients on a daily basis. The staff expanded to support the client’s needs to over 300 personnel. He received many honors and awards during his career. He was honored with the 1982 Outstanding Alumnus Award from Aurora College. In 1990 President Bush named him to the President’s Council on Mental Retardation. He also was President of the Farm Resource Center, a statewide organization that assists families in financial danger of losing their farms. He served on numerous local, state, and national committees. Dewey was admired by the clients, staff, families and the community for his passionate understanding for the needs of others. He will be missed, but forever remembered for his love of people.
Dewey and Marge built their dream home on a bluff in Ferryville WI overlooking the Mississippi River. When they retired full time on the bluff they became very involved with the community and the Freeman Lutheran Church. Dewey loved to cook and entertain and surround himself with family and friends. He developed a passion for genealogy, photography and the local art scene. To celebrate each day they had together every evening Dewey and Marge would raise a toast "To The Day".
He is survived by his loving wife, Marjorie Ann Cole Thompson; daughter, Lynn Holly Thompson Amundsen; son, Wayne Cole Thompson; grandchildren, Alexander Amundsen, Abigail Thompson, Andrew Thompson, and Tabitha Thompson. Sister, Ann Thompson King; brother Doug Thompson, as well as other family and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Alice (Chelin) Thompson; and a son, Rob Thompson.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, September 19th at 1 p.m. at the Thorson Funeral Home in Viroqua with Pastor Lori Kleppe officiating. Family and friends may call from 11 a.m. until the time of the service with a fellowship to follow. A Graveside service will be held on Wednesday, Sept 20th at the Freeman Lutheran Church Cemetery at 9 a.m. The family suggests memorial be made to the AID (The Association for Individual Development) 309 W. New Indian Trail Court, Aurora IL 60596. Online condolences may be left at www.thorsonfuneralhome.com.
The Thorson Funeral Home of Viroqua is assisting the family with arrangements.