Bessie Ione Thompson, the daughter of DeWitt and Alice Florence (Vernon) Kohl, was born on December 31, 1915, in Martelle, Iowa. She was raised in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1934. On June 18, 1934, Bessie married Melvin Arthur Thompson in Mt Vernon. The couple lived most of their married life in Marion, Iowa, and Bessie worked as an office manager for Wray, Robb, and Bickel Orthopedic Medical Clinic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for many years. Melvin died in August, 1979, in Cedar Rapids.
Bessie had been active in the First Presbyterian Church in Marion, and was a member of the Pythian Sisters Lodge in Cedar Rapids. She enjoyed doing hand work, as well as playing cards and Bingo.
Bessie I. Thompson died on Thursday, October 20, 2005 at the Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, Iowa, at the age of 89 years, 9 months, and 20 days.
Bessie was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Melvin Arthur Thompson; one sister, Elda Kohl; and one brother, Vernon Kohl. Her survivors include two sons, D.A. (Karen) Thompson of Harlan, Iowa, and Dennis (Marciene) Thompson of De Forest, Wisconsin; one daughter, Alice (Charles) Johns of Bismarck, North Dakota; eight grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service was held on Friday, October 28, 2005, at the First Presbyterian Church in Marion, Iowa, with Rev. Howard Chapman officiating. Judy Chapman served as the organist. Burial of ashes was in the Campbell Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, and Baxter-Stewart Funeral Chapel in Marion, Iowa, were in charge of the arrangements.