Mary Frances Thompson, age 93, of Yankton, South Dakota, died on Friday, August 2, 2019 under hospice care at her daughter’s home in Yankton.
Funeral services are 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with Jamie Roach officiating. Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton.
Visitation is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6 at Wintz & Ray Funeral Home with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation continues one hour prior to the funeral.
Pallbearers are her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers are the former members of the Eager Beaver 4-H Club.
Mary Frances Thompson was born February 12, 1926 in Sioux City, Iowa to Albert and Anna (Johnson) Biggerstaff. She grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, the eldest of six siblings. On September 7, 1941, Mary Frances married Clifford Morris Cook and they had three children: Delores Elaine, Larry Morris and Paul Clifford who died at the age of 3 days. They lived and farmed five miles north of Yankton on the Charles Cook Farm homestead passed down to George and later Clifford. Mary worked as a nurse’s aide at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital and then in the Yankton County Treasurer’s Office. On August 10, 1963, Mary Fran married Donald Thompson. Mary Fran continued employment as a Purchasing Agent Assistant at the Yankton State Hospital. The couple had two children, Debra Kay and Todd Louis. They farmed and raised cattle on the Thompson homestead near Volin, South Dakota until 1998 when they moved to Yankton.
Mary Fran gave countless years of service to the youth of the community as an Eager Beaver 4-H Club leader, attending and leading in the State of SD Leadership Lab. She was one of thirty-three delegates who attended the Advanced Leader Training Course at Gormanstown Castle, Ireland. She, and other faithful community 4-H promoters, were instrumental in the purchase and building of the present 4-H grounds in Yankton. Mary was a longtime member of the Women’s Extension Club Association, and in 1991 she was awarded a 50-year certificate. Daughters, Dee and Deb recall their mother hosting and working to engage other women in the community of fellowship and homemaking. She was a member of the Yankton Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, First Congregational Church and Trinity Lutheran Church. She was active in politics and enjoyed working with the Yankton and Clay County Census. Mary loved canning and making jelly. She also enjoyed cooking and baking, a skill all farm wives and grandmothers must employ. Mary Fran was ahead of her time in creative decorating and remodeling; she enjoyed painting, wallpapering and sewing while assisting on the farm. Mary Fran achieved her GED which she was very proud of and therefore was the grandma and great-grandma who sat proudly at each graduation ceremony of the family, even in a wheelchair! Celebrating her family’s birthdays and weddings was also a high priority.
Mary is survived by four children: Dee (Bob) Roach of Blue Springs, MO, Dr. Larry (Cheryl) Cook of Penn Valley, CA, Deb (Doug) Lillie of Yankton and Todd (Debbie) Thompson of Ethan, SD; 10 grandchildren: Paul (Christy) Roach, Jamie (Lea Ann) Roach, Jennifer (Bill) Hildebrand, Shari (Jim) Lucas, Carla (John) Sakrison, Jordan (Darren) Gillmore, Justin, Kendall, Kyler Lillie and Tate Thompson; 16 great-grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren; two brothers, Delbert (Brenda) Biggerstaff of Conroe, TX and Glenn (Jeannie) Biggerstaff of Sioux City, IA; one sister, Bonnie (Tom) Rouse of Vermillion, SD, many nieces and nephews, her loving care-givers and the hospice staff who assisted in her care.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Donald Thompson on July 23, 2014; infant son, Paul Cook on May 11, 1952; brother, Marvin “Bud” Biggerstaff; and sister, Velma Mae Jahn.
To send an online message to the family, please visit www.wintzrayfuneralhome.com.
Yankton Press & Dakotan
August 5, 2019