Celebrating the life of Alta Mae Thompson
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Alta Mae Thompson, age 94, of Altus, OK, formerly of Route 1, Duke, OK, and before that Sanger, TX, was born on May 16, 1910 in Denton, Co., TX. Alta was the third of seven children born to Cordelia (LeGear) Crandall and Jacob Hall Crandall.
Her siblings and their spouses were Franklin and Ethel Crandall, Iva Lorene Bentley and Dale Howard, LeRoy and Joyce Crandall, Alma Fay and J. Ira Groves, L. A. and Modene Crandall and Cordelia Elizabeth and Roy Markham. All are deceased except for Alta's older sister, Lorene Howard of Ft. Worth, Texas and one brother-in-law J. Ira Groves of North Richland Hills, Texas and 5 nephews and one neice.
Alta's mother, Cordelia LeGear, was born in Hancock County, Tennessee and came to Texas as a child, in a covered wagon in 1886. Alta's father, Jacob Hall Crandall, was born in Fannin County, Texas and moved to Denton County in 1890.
Alta's husband and business partner, Norris Carroll Thompson, whom she married on January 11, 1938, in Pauls Valley, OK, preceded her in death on Dec 18, 1986.
Alta was a devoted daughter, wife, grandmother, mother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She loved many things while here on earth, but more importantly, she loved the Lord and she loved her family.
Left to cherish her life and to celebrate her memory is her cousin and her business partner, Francis Riley, of the farm home and her daughter and son-in-law, Judy & Harvey Redelsperger of Richland Hills, TX. Also Alta leaves in God's care, her precious grandsons and their wives and children including: Captain Chad Carter and his wife Holly Carter, of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and Michael Perry and his wife Melanie Perry, of Arlington, TX and Alta's Great-granddaughters, Zoe Hope Perry, Elise Faith Perry, Madison Love Perry of Arlington, TX and Reagan Lane Carter of Colorado Springs, CO.
Also surviving Alta is one of Norris' sisters, Ethel (Thompson) Galbreath of Joshua, TX and 4 nieces and 5 nephews.
Alta's extended family also includes her son-in-law's children, Harvey, Khanmela, Antany, Cara and Ashlyn Redelsperger, Kim Harbeck, and Jeff Redelsperger, as well as Kendall and Donna Aduddell, John and Karen Redelsperger, David and Jan Redelsperger and their families.
Alta was born, and grew up, in Sanger, Texas. Due to hard times and family illness, Alta had to quit high school one year prior to graduating and go to work in order to help support her family and to help keep her younger two brothers and two sisters in school.
Alta worked in a cafe, both as a waitress and as a cook. She was the cashier at the local movie theater, that Norris operated, and she also ran a boarding house for several years. Alta was able to keep her younger siblings in clothes and in school, until they all graduated from high school.
Alta and Norris dated 10 years, before they could financially afford to get married. After Norris finished college, at Decatur Baptist College, in decatur, TX, he went to work in the oil field and this is when they married.
Not long after their marriage, Norris' father, Edward Austin Thompson, died in 1940, leaving the Oklahoma farm with no one to care for it, so Norris asked Alta if she would move with him to Southwest Oklahoma just for one year, and help him get the farm ready to sell, then they could move back to Texas where all of their family, on both sides, lived.
Well, one year turned into two and two into three and eventually one has turned into 63 years for Alta to have lived in Oklahoma.
Alta and Norris started off from scratch as they borrowed the money to pay Norris' widowed mother for the Thompson farm and then they began their farming and ranching career, with very few assets and many liabilities.
Alta could always out pull Norris when they pulled cotton. They didn't know that you needed to wear gloves to pull cotton when they moved to the farm, but thanks to some of their neighbors, they learned quickly, and the gloves sure made that back-breaking job go a little easier.
Norris' cousin, Francis Riley, came to live with Norris and Alta as soon as he graduated from high school....except for the two years that he was in the Army, he has been right there, on the Thompson farm. He moved there before Judy was born, and he is still there.
After Francis' military duty was over, he came directly back to the farm and he and Norris started buying land, in A partnership, and Francis and Alta were still partners until this past Sunday.
In 1946 Alta had a daughter who kept her busy and out of the field. As the daughter grew, her many activities, including driving many miles to take the daughter to piano lessons, sporting events, church activities, as well as 9 years in the 4-H Club. Judy graduated from high school in Gould, OK and then graduated from Southwestern State Pharmacy School, in Weatherford, OK in 1969 and she has practiced Pharmacy since graduating and passing her State Board. Judy continues to work as a Pharmacist for Walgreen Pharmacy in Hurst, TX.
Due to the fact that Alta had to quit high school right before her senior year, she always had the drive and the dream to finish high school and to get her high school diploma. So in 1964, the same year that Alta's daughter Judy graduated from high school, Alta also finished her senior year and received her high school diploma. She received her diploma through a correspondence course with the American School of Correspondence.
Alta was raised Methodist and Baptist. Alta's Dad was Methodist and her mother was Baptist, so she was sprinkled Methodist as a child, and was baptized into the First Baptist Church of Gould in 1952. Alta was very active in this church for many years. While active in the church, she taught a Junior High Sunday School class and served in this position for 8 years. She was Superintendent of the Intermediate Dept. of Vacation Bible School for 6 years. Bible School usually came along right about wheat harvest time, when she had to prepare meals for the harvest crew, but she managed to do both. She was still a member of this same church when she died.
Alta was active in the LaHoma Extension Club of Harmon Co, and always had many entries in handwork, canning, and baking in the County Fair each fall. She also served as Secretary of the Self-Culture Club, Vice President of the Harmon County Council and was a member of the Eastern Star for 55 years.
Alta always kept very busy keeping her large country home, keeping the books on their land and also keeping the records on their registered Angus cattle. She rode a three-wheeler to help check the irrigation and cooked three meals a day for her husband and Francis and anyone else that might show up at noontime.
Alta's hobbies included ceramics, needlepoint and crafts of all sorts, flower gardening and also watering and mowing her acre of grass surrounding the farm home.
When Alta was born in 1910, you could buy a loaf of bread for 4 cents and a gallon of milk for 34 cents. Gasoline was 9 cents a gallon. You could buy a new Ford automobile for $950.00 and the average annual income was $1,156.00. Alta had seen a lot of changes in her 94 years.
Alta had lived in the Tamarack Retirement Center for 8 years. She loved her apartment and loved being close to the farms, to visit them periodically, and watch the crops being planted, growing and harvested.
Alta was an inspiration for newcomers to Tamarack Retirement Center. She told them all that it wasn't the same as being at home but it sure ran a close second. Alta was up and dressed every morning, with her hair combed and her make-up on, before breakfast, and had her breakfast with her tablemates in the cafeteria.
Alta had a very sharp mind and a great sense of humor, right up to the end, and her family thanks God for allowing them to have her here with them for all of these past wonderful years.
Alta's favorite charity was the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Chikldren, Inc., 3800 N. May Ave, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 83112-9750.
Funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, September 23, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Gould with Rev Ralph chapman and Rev Sidney Lotts officiating. Graveside services will be Friday, Sept 24, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. in the Sanger Cemetery in Sanger, Texas. Lowell-Tims Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Sayre City Cemetery
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