Anna Marie Holland Thompson, passed away peacefully on December 12, 2014 in the care of the Villa Marie Claire Hospice, in Saddle River, NJ. Anna was a warm, kind person with a hearty laugh and an infectious smile. She lived with purpose and made an effort to touch the lives of the people she met along the way. Anna will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Anna was born February 26, 1930 in Jersey City, NJ to the late Julia Rebecca Sullivan Holland Small and Benjamin Franklin Holland. She was very close to her sister, Imogene Holland Davis, who predeceased her in December 2011. She wed her life partner and great love, the late Leonard Conrad Thompson on February 24, 1951.
For most of her life, Anna was a proud resident of Jersey City, NJ. She graduated from Lincoln High School and completed coursework at Hudson County Community College. When she and Lenny began a family, Anna became a homemaker, and thus began her lifetime commitment to service and others.
Anna and Lenny had a marriage that spanned 58 years. They had four children, although one, Stephen Fillmore Thompson, died shortly after birth. Anna had a big heart and always made time for family and friends. Lenny and their three children marveled at her many talents and she wowed many with her sophisticated sewing abilities. This was a skill she developed under the tutelage of her mother, who was a tailor. Anna loved word games and mental challenges and it was rare to find her without a crossword puzzle during her downtime. Anna and Lenny were light on their feet and enjoyed social events. Their children have fond memories of their Mom playing Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke records while living on Orient Ave, Dwight St and Wilkinson Ave. The Thompsons socialized and entertained often, their home was known to be lively, full of laughter and open to family and friends. In later years, when Lenny’s health declined, Anna became his caregiver until he moved to a NJ Veterans facility. They were devoted to one another and she made sure to call him daily and visit as often as her health would allow.
Service to community was an important value to Anna. She modeled this value through holding office and active membership in various local organizations such as The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, William Sumner Post #222 (State & County representation); Action For Sickle Cell, Inc., the Order of the Eastern Star and Chair of the Jersey City Parent Council for Public Schools #29, #15, #41 and Henry Snyder High School. She joined the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in 1982 from St. Matthew’s after being a member of Grace Van Vorst Episcopal Church for many years. She enjoyed worshiping and working with the priests and members of Incarnation. In addition to serving as the Stewardship Chair and President of the Choir, Anna was also a member of the Vestry and active in the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) organization.
After her children graduated from high school, Anna made the decision to work outside her home. In 1974, she became employed by the Jersey City Head Start Child Development Program and later became Administrative Assistant to the Director. Her conscientious work ethic and “can do” attitude was valued by her team and colleagues. Her 2001 retirement celebration, which drew dozens of Head Start colleagues and friends spanning many years, was a testament to how Anna was beloved and respected. Like her friends and family, her colleagues came to know that Anna Thompson was reliable, non-judgmental and willing to lend a hand.
Anna was a role model, positive influence and mentor. She set expectations and high standards for herself and her children. She was an independent, phenomenal woman with a zest for life that her children and others appreciated and emulated.
After experiencing health problems in her 70s, Anna became a resident of Bergen County and lived at Mill Gardens Assisted Living in Midland Park, NJ. With her magnetic and amiable personality, Anna quickly made friends and enthusiastically participated in its musical events and programs. At Mill Gardens, she received frequent visits from nearby relatives and her out of town family would always stop by for a visit and warm hug when they came to the area.
Anna is survived by her children - Jewel (Glen) Chin of Teaneck, NJ, Charles (Cordis) Thompson of Cary, NC and Betty (Clifford W.) Mitchem of Manchester, MO; grandchildren - Angela, Nadia, Clifford T., Armah (Caitlin), Ja’Niene, Sidoney, Marc and Amaya; and great-granddaughters - Devin, Nyla and Kyra. Anna will be missed by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
On behalf of the Thompson, Chin and Mitchem families, for the love, friendship and memories you have shared with our Mother. Please know that you touched her life and ours and your support at this time brings us comfort.
Charles and Betty would like to express APPRECIATION and GRATITUDE to our sister Jewel, her husband Glen, and our cousin, Ida Davis-McNeill for visiting, supporting and caring for our Mom when miles prevented us from being there as often as we would like. Saying “thank you” did not ever seem to be enough. Your contributions were monumental and we want you to know how much we think your consistent presence positively influenced Mom’s well-being.