Donna Lee Thompson, age 83, passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 5, 2022, after a long, full life. The youngest of 3 daughters, Donna Lee Shea was born December 8, 1938, in Butte, MT to Irish immigrants Margaret and Daniel Shea. As she grew up in Butte, she attended St. Mary’s grade school and Central High School, where she was surrounded by loving family and friends. Even years after moving away from Butte, there was always a part of her that could never leave the city and her Irish roots there. She initially attended Carroll College to study nursing but soon discovered her passion was teaching. She transferred to Western Montana College, and after two years of study, took her first job teaching in a Butte elementary school.
Soon after, she met Bill Thompson who was attending the Montana School of Mines. They were married 60 years ago on November 18. They soon moved to Wyoming where sons, Bill, and a year later, Greg were born. The Thompsons followed Bill’s job with Chevron Oil from Wyoming to Texas and California before deciding that they would both pursue careers in teaching. They spent a year in Butte again, while Bill earned his master’s degree in teaching and Donna taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades at the Rocker rural school. In 1969, the family was completed with the birth of Shawn just before they all moved to Concrete, where Bill and Donna taught in the local schools.
Donna eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching and subsequently attended Western Washington University to earn her master’s degree in early childhood education. While she was proud of her educational achievements, her success as a teacher came just as much from her innate ability to relate to her students. The respect she showed students from a very young age, and her ability to relate to them personally, often brought students back to her years later, just to say hello or to ask advice. She taught two and three generations of some families in Concrete before retiring after 30 years of teaching.
While she was a successful teacher, she took most pride in her role as a wife, mother and grandmother. She made the family home on their little farm a joyful, nurturing place. Birthdays, holidays, and graduations were always festive and special because of her. She was not one to openly brag about her children and grandchildren, but they always knew how proud she was of their accomplishments, no matter how big or small. She was always a support for the family and never failed to recognize a birthday or anniversary. Despite not being a very outdoorsy person, she was always a good sport about participating in farming, camping, hiking, and fishing that the boys/men in her family enjoyed.
After retirement, she and Bill loved to travel to destinations across the world, often bringing along other members of the family. They made frequent trips to see children and grandchildren across the northwest, often coming to celebrate special occasions.
Donna will be dearly missed by her surviving family, who include her husband, Bill; sons, Bill, Greg, and Shawn and their wives Andrea, Traci and Danna; grandchildren, Amanda, Melia (Aaron), Casey, Briana, Tye, Ryan, Mary, Gwennyth, and Evangeline, and their partners; and many nieces, nephews, brother and sisters-in-law, and cousins. She is preceded in death by her parents Margaret and Daniel Shea, infant brother, sisters Patricia and Maureen, and their husbands Bill Markovich and Joe Yelenich.
A Memorial Mass will be said to celebrate her life at 11:00, Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 719 Ferry Street, Sedro-Woolley.
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Bill & All,
So very sorry to hear of Donna’s passing. She was such wonderful woman always with a greeting smile. My deepest condolences to all.
Bill, Greg, Bill and Shawn,
How very sorry I am for your loss. Patrick treasured Mrs. Thompson throughout his schooling, and does to this day. So many students got such great starts from her, she is fondly remembered by countless people.
What a Special Lady. Her 3 sons were a product of her Love as a Mother and
dedicated wife. Her son Greg, worked for me as a River Guide on many Rivers
in Washington State. He provided his own Raft and had a PERFECT Safety
Record and Rapport with out many customers at Pacific NW Float Trips.
To Donna’s entire family, thoughts and prayers are with you. Donna was and will forever be a great lady. She was the first teacher I worked with at CES and later trained me in reading assistant programs.
She was an outstanding teacher who taught with respect, kindness and expectations. Mant students returned to thank her. I have fond memories of working with her , Berna,Judy and Kelly… and seeing the Leprechaun footprints she and John put in the hallways and rooms!Recently we had shared cards and I will miss our planned lunch.She and Bill raised a wonderful family. Mark and I send our prayers.She leaves us beautiful memories.
Donna and Bill were part of my school career at Concrete High School for 35 years. So many lessons learned from both of these wonderful people. Donna and Bill were always part of my review panel for Senior Presentations, which was a requirement for graduation. She will will be truly missed and remember by many of her students and colleagues for years to come. Peace be with you Donna!
Donna not only guided decades of Concrete’s youth to being caring, organized, responsible individuals, but she encouraged her colleagues by example, to remain steadfast in their expectations, for themselves and for their students, despite the challenges teachers so often face.
I, Julie (Dwyer) Bowman, am extending my sincere sympathy to my special friend’s family, the Thompsons. Donna and I spent many fun times during our grade school and high school years and later. May you rest in peace, Donna.
A wonderful teacher. RIP