Death Notices & Obituaries

Jean Thompson

Jean Thompson, formerly Thacker (née Stewart) 1927-2017 On 28 November, Jean Thompson died in Sonning, shortly after her 90th birthday. She was born Jean Stewart, and came from a working class Methodist background in Manchester. Overcoming strong opposition from her family she won a state scholarship and went to Reading University, where she studied English, French and Latin. She had a natural aptitude as a linguist, and never stopped adding new languages to her collection. To Latin, Russian and Chinese at a high level, she added Portuguese, Esperanto and latterly, Spanish. She spent her working life in education, starting in the RAF teaching National Servicemen, and here she gained the rank of Flight Officer. She taught in schools in the USA and in Britain, and in the 1970s she was Head Teacher at the English Language Centre for immigrant children in Reading. She also worked in adult education, and was a founder of the University of the Third Age in this country, leading it from a grass roots organisation to a membership of 17,000. She ended her career as the UK representative on the Governing Board of the International Association of Universities of the Third Age. In this capacity she addressed audiences around the world, speaking in nine languages in eleven countries. She brought up five children, Bevis, Toby, Hilary, Giles and Quintus. Jean lived in Cyprus, America, Ireland, and in Brazil before returning to Reading after the death of her second husband Jack Thompson. In addition to her five children she leaves eight grandchildren, Dana, Amy, Phoebe, Ava, Joe, Cody, Rufus, and Felix, and a brother, Donald. A funeral service for Jean is to be held at 1:30pm on Tuesday 12th December at Henley Road Cemetery, All Hallows Road, Caversham, RG4 5LP. The service will be followed by a wake for members of the family. Flowers can be sent to the Undertakers: A.B. Walker, 36 Eldon Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4DL

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