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Neta

Neta Thompson

Neta Grace Thompson, age 101, of Yankton, South Dakota, died on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Funeral services are 10:00 AM, on Friday, June 17, 2022 at First United Methodist Church in Yankton with Reverend Katie Ricke officiating.  Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton.  Visitation is from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Thursday, June 16 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the funeral at the church. Neta was born on August 10, 1920 in Lake Preston, South Dakota to Perley and Fay (Peck) Smith.  She grew up in Burke, SD and graduated from Burke High School in 1938.  She attended the Southern State Normal School in Springfield, SD where she received a teaching certificate. She taught school in one-room schoolhouses in Gregory County, SD until the fall of 1944 when she left her teaching to spend the remainder of the war years with her sister in Sioux City, IA.  During that time she worked in a defense plant sewing uniforms for the Army.  At the close of the war, she moved to Yankton and resumed teaching in one-room rural schools in Yankton County. On September 29, 1950, Neta married Andrew Thompson at the Methodist Church in Irene, SD, with the Reverend Wayne Rager, a close friend of the couple, officiating.  To this union four children were born: Jon, Lin, Robert and Ruth.  While Neta was a “stay at home mom” she also worked with her husband to build several successful businesses in Yankton.  She was very involved in the life and work of the First United Methodist Church in Yankton where she was a member for more than 70 years. Neta was always proud of the fact that she had a very happy childhood despite being a child of the great depression.  Growing up on the prairie during the 1930’s was difficult—a time of economic hardships, dirt storms and grasshopper infestations.  She learned early to be frugal and lived by the adage of the day – “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” Neta was a remarkable and strong woman, living completely independently until the last week of her life.  Always busy making things, her home and the homes of her loved ones hold the treasures of her hands—expressions of the love she held so closely for her friends and family.  One particular and special friendship with Phyllis Christiansen (Volin, SD), spanned more than 75 years and encompassed the myriad life events of two families living the classic town life and country life.  A member of the community at Sunrise Apartments in Yankton, Neta’s presence will be missed by many. She is survived by her four children: Jon (Patricia) Thompson of Laguna Vista, TX, Lin (Ann) Thompson of Rapid City, SD, Robert (Marie) Thompson of West Richland, WA and Ruth (Karen) LeMay of Minneapolis, MN; grandchildren (all omitted last names are Thompson): Darick (Janice), Sarah Menke Tharp, Abby (Bryan Bombeck) Menke, Adam (Brittany), Molly (Mike) Vander Heyden, Seth (Allison), Luke (Jody), Jessica (fiancé Curtis Walton), Dayton LeMay, Carmen LeMay; and great grandchildren: Blake, Cara, Fae, Colton, Claire Tharp, James Besch, Joselyn Bombeck, Taylor (TJ) Bombeck, Jonathan, Madeleine and Joshua.  She is also survived by a sister-in-law, Marilyn Thompson of Foley, MN; niece, Laura (John) Lindner of Florence, SC and three very special Yankton College Class of 1963 students who still think of Neta as their South Dakota mom: Joe Formato and Leonard and Ginger Russ. She was preceded in death by her husband, Andy in 1993; her parents, Noyce Perley and Fay Smith of Yankton; brother, Eldon Smith of Wilmington, CA; sister, Letha and brother-in-law, Lou Lombardi of Neenah, WI; brother-in-law, John Thompson of Foley, MN; and sisters-in-law, Fayne (Winfield) Scott and Elaine Coffman; and very special friend, Phyllis Christiansen. Memorials may be sent to the First United Methodist Church at 207 W. 11th Street in Yankton, SD 57078 or Sunrise Senior Apartments (Mills Property) at 2015 Green Street in Yankton.  
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