OBIT - Judith Thompson.jpg

Judith (Judy) Thompson aged 68 passed away on Oct. 22, 2021. She was born on March 14, 1953, in Feilding, New Zealand, the second of four children of Edith Myrtle Macdonald and Roderick Douglas Macdonald.

She tried medical college and nursing training before completing a biology degree at the University of Auckland. She found her vocation then with a Diploma of Optometry in 1979. She married Ian Joseph Thompson in the same year in Nelson, New Zealand.

In January 1980, they moved to Manchester, England, where later in 1980 she fully qualified as a registered optometrist. Her first child Catherine Mary was born in Manchester, the second Alice Barbara in Bristol, and the third Jennifer Eileen when the family was living in Dorking, England. The family had multi-month visits to Auckland, New Zealand; Copenhagen, Denmark; South Bend, Indiana.

She found working part-time as an optometrist a useful job to fit around children and travel. Coming to actually live in the USA, she said, helped relieve some prejudices generated by TV soap operas, and made her want to return.

In 2006 she was thus keen for her husband to accept an appointment at Livermore Laboratory, so they and their youngest daughter came to Pleasanton in July 2006. She was by then looking forward to retiring from optometry, and instead took the courses at Las Positas College that she had always wanted to, such as literature, history, computer operation and poetry. She helped as a tutor at LPC and also at Pleasanton Library with other new immigrants.

Judy and Ian moved to Livermore in 2015, bringing along and then growing further her cactus collection. She became a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church, Livermore in 2016: she found great value in being able to reach out to those in need of conversation and friendship. She also became a very enthusiastic handbell player at the church. In 2016, however, she was diagnosed with a rare slow-growing appendix cancer with few good treatment options. At first, she was discouraged, but then decided there was still much to do. Once she found her voice and determination, the change was dramatic. One month after her first operation in 2016 she flew to England for the wedding of Catherine and Przemek Rogala, and the following year to Manchester for the wedding of Alice and Chris Johnson. Jenny had settled nearby in California and was a great source of support. She had already discovered the delights of touring in the USA, first looking at the many canyons and mesas in the southwest. Later there were train tours around Colorado and British Columbia, Canada. She discovered her unique voice for writing short and expressive poems, and she published one collection in 2018 and another in 2020 also with prose chapters. In the covid times she was confined to zoom calls, but still joined several writing classes.

Her first grandson Huxley Ian was born in June 2021, and at first it looked like visiting would be too difficult. However, rules were relaxed sufficiently concerning quarantines that she and her husband were able to fly to England in September and visit Alice and Catherine and their families. She was so happy to be able to hold Huxley even for a few days.

Judy is survived by her siblings Jeff, Peter and Anne, her husband Ian of 41 years, her three daughters Catherine, Alice and Jennifer and grandson Huxley. There will be an in-person memorial service at the First Presbyterian Church at 2020 Fifth St., Livermore, on Saturday, Jan 8, 2022, at 11 a.m., with masks required indoors. This will also be online at fpcl.online.church. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Judy’s memory may be made to the Sunflower Hill project at sunflowerhill.org.