Eunice A. Thompson, 93, volunteered for Red Cross

December 18, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

For 46 years, Eunice A. Thompson never varied her routine.

She spent several days each week traveling aboard a Red Cross Bloodmobile to downtown office buildings where she assisted blood donors and she volunteered at Keswick Multi-Care Center in Roland Park on Sundays.

While returning from a blood drive at Mondawmin Mall in a Red Cross van Dec. 10, Mrs. Thompson was involved in a traffic accident at Cold Spring Lane and North Charles Street.

Mrs. Thompson, 93, who died Friday of injuries at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, had been a Red Cross volunteer since 1951.

"She died in the line of duty," said Bobbie Jones, director of volunteers for the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross, of the longtime Roland Park resident.

"She was one of our stars and worked two or three assignments per week," Ms. Jones said.

Ms. Jones estimated that throughout her tenure, Mrs. Thompson had come in contact with 235,000 blood donors and never missed an assignment.

A diminutive woman dressed in a blue Red Cross smock, Mrs. Thompson was a familiar figure with her carefully braided snow white hair piled atop her head and her expressive brown eyes.

"No matter what the weather, she was always there. She was the kind of woman who couldn't help but capture so many hearts," Ms. Jones said.

Mary DeKuyper, chairman of the board of the Central Maryland Chapter of the Red Cross, said yesterday: "She was a strong and caring woman who was a wonderful ambassador for our organization. She gave so unselfishly, and her life was certainly one of commitment."

In addition to her work with the Red Cross, she volunteered each Sunday for years at the Keswick Multi-Care Center where she helped in religious services for the residents.

"She certainly died with her boots on, and death didn't find her in her bed," said a niece, Mary Carol Smith of Baltimore, who said her aunt was her "lifelong hero."

"Serving mankind was what her life was all about," Mrs. Smith said yesterday.

A lifelong walker who never learned how to drive, Mrs. Thompson VTC thought nothing of walking from her Schenley Road home to the Rotunda to do her grocery shopping.

She participated each year, until she turned 90, in the annual March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon and gave it up only after falling several times.

Known as a neighbor with a loving heart, she was in her 80s when she grabbed her shovel and volunteered to help a neighbor clean up a load of dirt that had been dumped in the wrong place.

"She didn't analyze things. She just loved people and participated in life," said Mrs. Smith.

She never missed a Halloween and went trick-or-treating in her neighborhood this year dressed as a witch. On New Year's morning, she'd step out the door of her home a few minutes past midnight to greet the New Year with the ringing of a bell. These were activities that she had engaged in since childhood and steadfastly refused to give up.

The former Eunice Petersen, the daughter of a Danish sea captain, was born in Philadelphia where she graduated from West Philadelphia High School for Girls.

She moved to Baltimore in 1927 when she married William Arthur Thompson. Together, the couple operated Roland Park Radio until 1942. Mr. Thompson, a retired civil engineer, died in 1983.

She received numerous civic awards and was named the Evergreen Neighborhood Association's Citizen of the Year in 1994.

She was also a longtime member of the United Methodist Women and the Roland Avenue Evergreen United Methodist Church, 4001 Roland Ave., where services are planned for 1 p.m. today.

She is survived by a son, Arthur D. Thompson of Bozman; a daughter, Virginia Ellen Thompson Moncure of Lakewood, Colo.; 13 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 12/17/97

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