Jeanette Stanger Thompson died on July 2. She was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1923 in Stearns County, Minnesota. She was the second child of Esther Schultz Stanger and John Christian Stanger. Her older brother was Eugene and her younger sister was Elaine. The children grew up during the depths of the Great Depression, but they had happy memories of their childhood in Waite Park, Minnesota. John worked as a machinist at the large Great Northern railcar manufacturing facility in Waite Park. During the depression, John continued to work there at half time. A college education would have been out of the question, but all three of the children excelled in school and earned scholarships to attend college. Jeanette and Elaine attended nearby St. Benedict’s College and would become dietitians. The nation entered World War II while they were in college. One summer Jeanette joined the ranks of Rosie the Riveter by taking a job at the old Pan Motor Company factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota, manufacturing fuselages for C-46 military transport planes. These planes were the workhorses of the effort to “fly the hump” over the Himalaya Mountains to keep the Chinese armies supplied. After graduation, Jeanette enlisted in the Army in 1944 to work as a dietitian and was sent to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for training. She declined to accept a commission when the war ended in 1945. After the war, she married Bill Thompson, a former Navy chief petty officer who served in Iceland and the Pacific. The couple took jobs at St. Mary’s Infirmary in Galveston, Texas, where their first child, John, was born in 1950. The Thompsons moved to Waite Park, where their daughter, Karen, was born in 1952.The family then moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, where their second son, William Kent, was born in 1956. Jeanette was a full-time mother during these years but went back to work after she and Bill were divorced. Working as a single mom, with her own parents in faraway Minnesota, Jeanette provided a happy and comfortable home for her three children. Jeanette was a very adventurous woman often taking out of state vacations with her three children. Summer vacations were often spent at her childhood home in Minnesota, visiting relatives and renting cabins at one of the many area lakes. Her children’s cherished memories of summer vacation fun will be held dearly in their hearts. Of great comfort during this difficult time was a wonderful Christian couple, Clarence and Kate Boyd. She also found strong moral support from the congregation of Mountain View Church of Christ and minister Paul Clark. Her parents would later sell their home in Minnesota and move to Johnson City to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. She worked at Memorial Hospital in Johnson City, then became the first dietitian at the new Carter County Memorial Hospital in 1960. She then was employed at the Veterans Hospital at Mountain Home, where she would work more than 20 years, she worked with veterans of World War I, World War II, and Vietnam, helping those with war wounds and other injuries. In 1973 Jeanette married James Thompson, the younger brother of her first husband. James was retired from the Navy. The couple enjoying camping and traveling. They had many close friends at this time, including Tom and Mable Hughes, Clay and Norma Chappell, Earl and Betty Gouge. After Jeanette’s retirement, they established a second home at Kings Gate Village in Nokomis, Fla., where they would spend 30 happy years of retirement. They had many great friends at Kings Gate, especially Kermit and Martha Stacy, Bill and Debbie Ratliff. During the early years of their retirement they enjoyed spending winters in Florida and summers in Johnson City. Jeanette enjoyed Nokomis Beach, collecting sea shells to make crafty mementos and watching the amazing sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico. Jeanette and Jim enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and numerous pleasurable cruises. When their health declined they moved back permanently to Johnson City to be near family. Jeanette enjoyed spending time with her children, attending church, reading and cross word puzzles until the ravages of Alzheimer’s took over her life.
Jeanette was preceded in death by her parents; sister Elaine Neil and brother Eugene Stanger along with many members of the Stanger, Schultz, and Thompson families.
Those left to cherish memories of Jeanette are: husband James; children and spouses; John and Larae, Karen and Billy, Kent and Susan; grandson Jason and Martine Holden; Luther Thompson, brother-in-law; Shirley Morrison, sister-in-law; nieces and nephews; friends of Kings Gate; friends and staff of Colonials Hills Retirement Center.
Memorials may be sent to Alzheimer’s Tennessee East TN Office, 5801 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919 to help find a cure and prevent the devastating disease for family and friends.
The memorial service will be held later.