(1920 – 1996)
Kathleen Thompson began life on February 18, 1920, in Hackneyville, Alabama. She learned early in life to set goals and strive for them. She was admired by both family and friends. Her siblings and all of her nieces and nephews were very special to her.
Following graduation as valedictorian from Hackneyville High School, she attended the University of Alabama, majoring in Home Economics with a specialty in clothing, graduating in the top ten. Miss Thompson taught Vocational Home Economics at Ethelville, Alabama (Pickens County), 1942-44. In June 1944, she accepted a position as Assistant Home Demonstration Agent in Randolph County. She later served as Associate Home Demonstration Agent in Walker and Calhoun Counties. In 1946, she became Home Demonstration Agent in Pickens County and later served in that position in Fayette County.
In 1952, she was named State Specialist in Clothing and Handicrafts and moved to Auburn. During her time as a Clothing Specialist, she worked toward an advanced degree and attended Alabama College, Montevallo, and the University of Tennessee. She earned her Master’s Degree in Clothing and Textiles from Penn State University. She retired as a Clothing Specialist from Alabama Cooperative Extension Service in June 1975.
Miss Thompson received many awards during her career. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. One of her greatest accomplishments was the recognition of the scholastic abilities of young women and the addition of scholarships in beauty pageants throughout Alabama and the nation. Miss Thompson served on many state boards and committees including the Alabama Maid of Cotton Pageant Committee, the Miss Alabama Pageant Committee, the Miss America Pageant Committee, the Alabama State Fair Planning Committee, and the Auburn Athletic Scholarship Board.
After her retirement, Miss Thompson moved to Birmingham. An advocate for Parkinson’s Disease Research at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, she was instrumental in organizing and served for several years as President of Parkinson’s statewide support group for families and patients. Miss Thompson was a motivator and spent much time volunteering in support of those with physical disabilities. Her contributions to Parkinson’s Research will enable those with the disease to receive more advanced treatment until a cure is a reality.
Kathleen Thompson died February 20, 1996, in Birmingham and was buried beside her parents, Ada and Aldrich Thompson, in Smyrna Cemetery near Alexander City, Alabama.
In tribute to her outstanding career, the name Kathleen Thompson is inscribed on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 381