Dorothy Jean Thompson

Passed away on December 27, 2013

On December 27, 2013, Dorothy Jean Gray Van Dyck Thompson was called home to her heavenly father.

Jean was a wonderful lady who greatly enjoyed her family and friends. She took great joy in a dinner table with those she loved at every available chair.

Jean was born in Ogden, Utah to loving parents, Dorothy “Dolly” Rinebarger and George Ernest Gray on January 5th, 1930. Her father (being a railroad man) was required to move the family more than most but the majority of her upbringing was in California.

Jean had an older brother, the late Dr. Gary Gray. These two had a relationship not common among siblings. Gary, the ever protective and diligent older brother, took his role as her big brother with utmost seriousness and yet with a gentle and sincere care for his baby sister. One of this writer’s fondest memories is of watching these two cut a rug so well that the rest of those on the dance floor often stopped to watch. While Jean’s childhood may have been somewhat unsettled to some, the relationship with her “Bubba” was always sure.

Jean joined the work force at a young age opting to put her education aside for the time being and gaining experience in a number of different fields. One that may be unique to you and now somewhat of a relic was in the dessert manufacturing industry. Believe it or not, Jean at one time was one of the few who had the privilege of knowing the details of making one of America’s favorite snack cakes…Twinkies. She was the one to stuff the Twinkies.

Another experience was the time she worked at a malt shop in a Colorado drug store. While common place in her era, what was not so common was her dedication, which became evident one day when an otherwise would be robber found out that some little red headed girls are packing heat. After his misguided attempt to make off with the cash from the register, Jean presented a handgun and proceeded to blaze away at the terrified man as he high tailed it out the door. While this sounds like something out of a Clint Eastwood movie, Jean once stated with great relief and soberness, “Thank God I didn’t hit that man!” Jean was a kind and compassionate person.

In 1950 Jean married Solon “Tommy” Thompson. She moved to Colorado following their divorce two years later. Jean married Leon Van Dyck in 1965. Their daughter Sandy arrived shortly after. Leon passed away in 1981. Seven years later Jean re-married Tommy Thompson in 1988. He passed away in March, 2013.

Jean loved her family very much, nurturing and cultivating relationships with her daughter, grandchildren, nieces and nephew and great nieces and great nephew. She was diligent about staying in touch with all of them, being sure that Christmas or birthdays did not go by without a gift from Grandma or Aunt Jean. Regular phone calls to family and loved ones was a highlight in Jean’s life right to the end.

Jean’s kindness was evidenced to many to include her beloved brother’s daughters. While her brother Gary took to the road driving a truck, his daughters came to live with Jean and Leon. Jean had a great impact on these two little girls, who grew to be loving, kind and dedicated to their families. Jean would do nearly anything for her family, a thread that is not so common in our world today, but is a common thread in her immediate family because of her example.

Jean was a beautiful person inside and out. Her son in law thought that one portrait of her as a young woman should have graced the nose of one of our best war planes. She endeavored to see the good in people and was very sensitive to humanity, being moved at the plight of those less fortunate than her; often doing whatever was in her power to make the world a better place.

It has been written that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jean exemplified that by always making it a point to invite her neighbors into her life and home. Many Memorial, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends saw her home filled with friends from the neighborhood.

Although cantankerous at times (she was a red head after all) she was a joy to be with. Not letting ‘old age’ slow her down, Jean embarked on a whitewater rafting excursion in her later years and even a trip to the Alaskan Bush with her daughter and son in law. Every year until she was physically unable, she made an annual trip to Alaska to see her daughter, son in law and grandchildren.

Being a dedicated Christian lady, every morning Jean could be found reading her Bible. She greatly desired her family and friends to know the love of God. His character was easily seen in the life she led, the way she loved and her dedication to her family. I don’t believe that she would want you to be sad at this time although we will all miss her terribly. Jean was very sensitive to those around her and were she to see your tears, some of her own would come to her eyes. We should not grieve what to some may seem like an end but rather rejoice at the beginning of eternity spent with Jean’s Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is actually something she looked forward to…the rest of forever with no more tears, no pain and no grief.

Preceded in death by her parents, brother, husband Leon Van Dyck and husband Tommy Thompson, Jean is survived by her daughter, Sandy Doran and family, husband, Robert and children, Luke, Levi, Jesse, Allie and Josiah, AK, stepdaughter, Toni Rhodes, CA, nieces, Lora (Jim) Jaquette, AZ, Belinda Gray (Nick), CA, nephew, Sean (Faye) Gray, CA, three grandnieces and one grandnephew.

Services were held at Little Chapel of the Hills in Divide.


Dorothy Jean Thompson

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Dot Berndsen

January 21, 2014

My love and prayers for you and your family, dear Sandy!

Bob Doran

January 18, 2014

My sincere condolences to my son, Robert, daughter-in-law, Sandy, my grandchildren and all of Jean's family and friends. God bless you all. What a great obituary. The world is a better place because of people like Jean. We are running out of the likes of her. I have always wished we lived closer so that I could have known her better. It is clear that she was a positive influence for many.

Geri Hostetler

January 17, 2014

Many days & some nights I spent with Jean. We laughed a lot and shared many stories. She was a wonderful elegant lady who cared about so many. Deeply loved all of her family. I enjoyed being around her. Through Jean I have met so many wonderful people who have become friends. I would tell her she was like the energizer bunny, because no matter what happened she kept going & going & going. That was Jean she was a go getter no matter what. There are so many stories I could tell but there's not enough space. I'm sure Jean is dancing now with those loved ones who are with her. I will miss her greatly, very happy Jean was a part of my life. I will never forget her smile, laugh, & love for all. She was one of a kind!

Karen Byron

January 17, 2014

Thank you, Sandy for sharing about your mom. It was a joy meeting her. I also looked forward to her visits to Alaska. She is with Jesus now. No more suffering, no more tears...

Lora Jaquette

January 17, 2014

I called her "Mean Aunt Jean" for years, mostly because she forced me to eat frozen vegetables. I love her dearly and will miss her always. I'm grateful that I had her in my life. She was a wonderful person and had more of an impact on my life than she could know.

Julie Tuttle

January 17, 2014

Dear Sandy, thank you so much for sharing this with us. It was beautiful and inspiring. I feel like I know your mom and you a little better. Love, julie for the Tuttles

Liz Watkins

January 17, 2014

I met Jean at Little Chapel in Divide Colo and was blessed to know her for several years there. She and Tommy always sat across from us at church and I was touched by his tender care for her. When they moved to care facilities in Colo Springs, I tried to visit often and every visit was an adventure of some kind. Many times, Jean's longtime friend Anne was with me and it was a special treasure to see them together. One Christmas my husband and I visited with one of our Saint Bernards - she was quite the hit, delighting Jean and totally disrupting the Christmas singalong the social director had organized! Jean was always glad to see her friends. I am very blessed to have known this special lady. Through Jean I've come to know her daughter Sandy and her neighbor Geri - two ladies I am grateful to call friends. I rejoice that Jean and Tommy are now with their Lord Jesus Christ - I look forward to seeing them again.