Lakewood lost a legend this Independence Day.
Vickie Thompson died doing what she loved best: Organizing the community around a celebration. Often called “Lakewood’s Mom,” after a day orchestrating the Fourth of July festivities, she suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Baylor Hospital where she died.
Thompson was the longtime leader and volunteer organizer of the Lakewood Fourth of July parade, where she spent her final hours running around — always with a beaming smile one her face — to ensure the annual event went off without a hitch. It was, many have said, “her” event after all, based purely on the prolific number of hours she dedicated to its success.
“I wake up every Fourth of July morning and think about her,” says friend Marsha Faram,
But it was just one of many Lakewood causes close to Thompson’s heart. She was highly involved in the Lakewood Service League, Ridgewood Park United Methodist Church, Light up Lakewood and the spring musical at Woodrow, among others.
She started working with the musical when her children were in it more than 15 years ago, but has continued to volunteer countless hours to the neighborhood school since. John Beaird, theater director at Woodrow, is one of the many people touched by Thompson. “What was so amazing is that she would give her time so freely and so joyously,” Beaird says. “She was integral part of the musical, and generations of students will be devastated about the news.”
Thompson worked with Beaird to shop, order and physically make the costumes needed for the musicals, including this year’s production of “Suessical.” She loved musical theater, had incredible style and enjoyed working with students. “She and I became very close friends,” Beaird says. “She did great work, but truthfully it is her spirit that we will miss. She was all about community, and I heard her say it a million times. She is the most generous person I have ever known.”
Neighbor Susan Schuerger crossed paths with Thompson when Schuerger’s children were in the musical at Woodrow. She describes Thompson’s impact in a heartfelt Facebook post, shedding light upon Thompson’s tireless and talented volunteer work. “Vickie was amazing to watch during those days leading up to performances,” she writes. “She could remember the name and sizes of every girl and boy, where they stood on stage during each number, who was next to them, what color each kid was wearing, and countless other necessary tidbits.”
Her effort with the musical was just another small part of Thompson’s seemingly endless capacity for giving. Schuerger continues, “I came to accept that Vickie didn’t really have time for casual conversation or leisurely lunches. She was always on the job, and there was just no down time available. The musical segued to the next project. Even while planning costumes, she was delivering Meals on Wheels, pulling off dinner for 50 plus every Wednesday night at her church, playing the piano or organ at Sunday services, throwing wedding and baby showers and being mom and wife to her beloved family.”
Thompson’s gifts extended far beyond musicals. She was an essential part of Ridgewood Park United Methodist Church where she was in the choir, played the organ and was in charge of many of the special celebrations at the church. “She couldn’t say no to anyone,” says Faram who also attends Ridgewood. “It is hard to imagine what the church will do without her.”
She was also on the board at Disciples of Trinity (DOT), an East Dallas nonprofit. DOT helped terminally ill people die with dignity. They provided food, clothes and financial assistance and clothes to the needy as well.
Kyle Rains, Thompson’s friend and fellow East Dallas supporter, spent time with her during yesterday’s parade, where she sold T-shirts and buttons as she did every year. “I’m just so sad today,” he says. “I cannot imagine how anyone could ever do all the things she did. It’s going to take a lot of people to keep these things going. No one person could ever take her place.”
Time and again friends and neighbors could not say enough about Thompson, who seemed to touch everyone she met. “There is a Vickie sized hole in our hearts that no one can fill,” said Faram. Almost every organization Thompson was a part of is reeling from the loss, worried what they will do without her.
On Thompson’s passing, neighbor and friend Kimmy Wright, put it well. “She has a better view of the fireworks over Lakewood.”
Thompson is survived by her husband, John; daughter, Jenn; son Johnathan, his wife Katie, and granddaughter Gray. This story will be updated when funeral arrangements become available.
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