Neta Thompson

Neta Grace Thompson, age 101, of Yankton, South Dakota, died on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Funeral services are 10:00 AM, on Friday, June 17, 2022 at First United Methodist Church in Yankton with Reverend Katie Ricke officiating.  Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton.  Visitation is from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Thursday, June 16 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the funeral at the church.

Neta was born on August 10, 1920 in Lake Preston, South Dakota to Perley and Fay (Peck) Smith.  She grew up in Burke, SD and graduated from Burke High School in 1938.  She attended the Southern State Normal School in Springfield, SD where she received a teaching certificate. She taught school in one-room schoolhouses in Gregory County, SD until the fall of 1944 when she left her teaching to spend the remainder of the war years with her sister in Sioux City, IA.  During that time she worked in a defense plant sewing uniforms for the Army.  At the close of the war, she moved to Yankton and resumed teaching in one-room rural schools in Yankton County.

On September 29, 1950, Neta married Andrew Thompson at the Methodist Church in Irene, SD, with the Reverend Wayne Rager, a close friend of the couple, officiating.  To this union four children were born: Jon, Lin, Robert and Ruth.  While Neta was a “stay at home mom” she also worked with her husband to build several successful businesses in Yankton.  She was very involved in the life and work of the First United Methodist Church in Yankton where she was a member for more than 70 years.

Neta was always proud of the fact that she had a very happy childhood despite being a child of the great depression.  Growing up on the prairie during the 1930’s was difficult—a time of economic hardships, dirt storms and grasshopper infestations.  She learned early to be frugal and lived by the adage of the day – “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Neta was a remarkable and strong woman, living completely independently until the last week of her life.  Always busy making things, her home and the homes of her loved ones hold the treasures of her hands—expressions of the love she held so closely for her friends and family.  One particular and special friendship with Phyllis Christiansen (Volin, SD), spanned more than 75 years and encompassed the myriad life events of two families living the classic town life and country life.  A member of the community at Sunrise Apartments in Yankton, Neta’s presence will be missed by many.

She is survived by her four children: Jon (Patricia) Thompson of Laguna Vista, TX, Lin (Ann) Thompson of Rapid City, SD, Robert (Marie) Thompson of West Richland, WA and Ruth (Karen) LeMay of Minneapolis, MN; grandchildren (all omitted last names are Thompson): Darick (Janice), Sarah Menke Tharp, Abby (Bryan Bombeck) Menke, Adam (Brittany), Molly (Mike) Vander Heyden, Seth (Allison), Luke (Jody), Jessica (fiancé Curtis Walton), Dayton LeMay, Carmen LeMay; and great grandchildren: Blake, Cara, Fae, Colton, Claire Tharp, James Besch, Joselyn Bombeck, Taylor (TJ) Bombeck, Jonathan, Madeleine and Joshua.  She is also survived by a sister-in-law, Marilyn Thompson of Foley, MN; niece, Laura (John) Lindner of Florence, SC and three very special Yankton College Class of 1963 students who still think of Neta as their South Dakota mom: Joe Formato and Leonard and Ginger Russ.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Andy in 1993; her parents, Noyce Perley and Fay Smith of Yankton; brother, Eldon Smith of Wilmington, CA; sister, Letha and brother-in-law, Lou Lombardi of Neenah, WI; brother-in-law, John Thompson of Foley, MN; and sisters-in-law, Fayne (Winfield) Scott and Elaine Coffman; and very special friend, Phyllis Christiansen.

Memorials may be sent to the First United Methodist Church at 207 W. 11th Street in Yankton, SD 57078 or Sunrise Senior Apartments (Mills Property) at 2015 Green Street in Yankton.


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11 response to "Neta Thompson"

  1. By: Chris and Wendy Beilby Posted: June 13, 2022

    Dear Lin and Ann,
    Wendy and I are so sorry that Neta passed away. Please accept our condolences. Know that we will be praying for you and that you find comfort in knowing Neta professed know the Lord.
    Chris and Wendy

  2. By: Emma French Laird Posted: June 13, 2022

    Visits with Neta made my heart smile. I will miss that privilege.

  3. By: Ruth Flores Posted: June 14, 2022

    RIP Neta. I’ll never forget your kindness in letting me stay at your and Andy’s home on my journey to AZ, and in particular, how I walked through your screen door – ha! You were both so understanding and kind in my moment of huge embarrassment! Hugs around to the family.

  4. By: Greg Frederick Posted: June 14, 2022

    So sorry to hear about your mom she was a awesome lady. Spend so many good times with that family. Thinking of all of you John ,Linn ,Bob and Ruth

  5. By: Linda Hagen Posted: June 14, 2022

    I am so sorry to learn of Neta’s passing. My sympathy and prayers to the whole family! She was a great lady and awesome friend to my mom! She will truly be missed. What a long awesome life she lived!🙏🙏💔

  6. By: JoAnn Goerdt Posted: June 14, 2022

    I’m sorry to hear of Neta’s passing. Her photo shows the love and light that she gave to the world. She helped make the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding. I will always remember her patience and kindness as we 5 dresses that weekend. She was such a puzzle master and I remember her and my Mom huddled over a puzzle giggling together. I’m thinking of all of you and send our love and hugs to all.

    Chris and Jo Goerdt

  7. By: Kent and Kathy Prince Posted: June 14, 2022

    What an awesome lady. Our trips back to Yankton will be all the more sad now that We have lost another precious friend to look forward to visiting with, even though it might have been a brief visit at church on Sunday morning. We were so hoping to see her later this summer on what has become a once a year trip for us. As we tend and replace the flowers on Marilynn and John’s Graves we will remember her and your dad as they Rest In Peace as neighbors. We would love to be there for the service, but distance will restrict us to being there in spirit with your family. Know we have your family in our thoughts and prayers as you begin this journey without your wonderful, loved mother.

  8. By: Cindy Crossway Posted: June 14, 2022

    I never thought I wanted to live to be 100 until I met Neta! I loved it when she shared her stories of her growing up, being a Mom, and the love she shared with her husband. Her love for the Lord and her knowledge of the Bible, inspired me. Sunrise Apartments will not be the same without her but we are grateful for the time we were blessed to spend with her. Much love to her family who were a constant source happiness to her.

  9. By: John P. Blackburn Posted: June 16, 2022

    She and Andy were fine people. My condolences on the loss of your Mom! John Blackburn

  10. By: Tammy Kokesh Posted: June 16, 2022

    Dear Ruth, I am so sorry for your lost. Your Mom was such a nice lady,so kind to everyone. I’m sure that God was happy to have her join Him in Heaven. I pray that He will ease your pain & sorrow. With Love, Tammy (Hill) Kokesh

  11. By: Trina White Posted: June 17, 2022

    Neta was such a strong, interesting and kind person. Just being in her presence was a comfort. She touched so many lives in such a positive way. I am grateful for the opportunity to have known her and my thoughts are with you all.

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