LAKE PLACID — Norma Jean Thompson — an Endicott native, former resident of Lake Placid, retired educator and wife of retired Lake Placid Central School Superintendent Arthur F. Thompson — passed away peacefully of natural causes on June 26, 2011, at her retirement home in New Port Richey, Fla.
Norma was born Oct. 10, 1926, in Endicott to Andrew and Alice Wargo, both employees of the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company.
She graduated from Union Endicott High School in 1944 and earned an accelerated bachelor’s degree in physical education at Cortland State Teachers College in 1947. During her years at Cortland State, she was highly active in student affairs, including posts as secretary to the college’s Governing Board, the Newman Club and Dance Club. She was also elected junior prom queen and was selected for inclusion in “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.”
Norma married Arthur F. Thompson of Port Henry on Aug. 28, 1948, in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Endicott. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson began their teaching careers in the Watertown Central School District, where Norma taught physical education and coached the girls cheerleading team. The Thompsons moved on to Carthage Central School in 1955 and to Lake Placid in 1962.
Norma left full-time teaching with the birth of her first child, Thomas Andrew, in October of 1951. She subsequently delivered three more children: Nancy Anne, Mary Alice and Richard Arthur. While raising her children, she occasionally taught as a substitute in the Saranac Lake schools.
In the late 1960s, Norma became an adjunct faculty member at North Country Community College, where she taught health and nutrition. In 1969, she became director of activities at the Uihlein Mercy Nursing Center in Lake Placid, a post she held until her retirement in 1980.
Norma was an active member of the Lake Placid Garden Club, the American Association of University Women and the Placid Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, for which she served a term as president. She also hosted frequent meetings of a local bridge club and was a successful tournament bridge player. In addition, Norma was an active volunteer for the Olympic Regional Development Authority, serving first as a hostess at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Athletes Village and later at the Mount Van Hoevenberg bobsled and luge tracks, the Olympic ski jumping complex and the Olympic Arena.
Norma’s warm smile and welcoming hospitality were well known in Lake Placid. She frequently entertained visitors and athletes at the family home, at times offering them a bed until other local arrangements were made. Her hospitality extended internationally as well, when the family rented their School Street home to the Russian Sports Federation during the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games.
Mrs. Thompson is survived by her husband of 63 years, Arthur; all four of her children; seven grandchildren: Allison Domm O’Neal and her husband Jeremy of Winston-Salem, N.C., William G. Domm IV of Rochester, Ashley Domm and her husband Kevin Gibbons of Washington, D.C., Caitlin, Michael and John Thompson of Whitehouse Station, N.J., and Jaclyn Kutyn of Fairfax, Va.; one great-grandchild, Harris Caroline O’Neal; and more than 20 nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, Harold W. Wargo of Endicott.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Norma’s memory to either the American Cancer Society, for which she was a volunteer, or the American Heart Association.
A memorial service will be held on at 10 a.m. Friday, July 15, 2011, at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Lake Placid. Honorary pallbearers include Norma’s son Tom, son-in-law Bill Domm, grandsons Will Domm, Michael and John Thompson, and grandsons-in-law Jeremy O’Neal and Kevin Gibbons. Internment will follow in St. Agnes Cemetery.