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Obituary for Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy Colwell Thompson began her eternal life on September 28, 2018 at the age of 95. Born on May 6, 1923 in Columbus, NJ, she was the sole child of Frank L. Colwell and Lydia Reeves Colwell. She grew up several doors away from the Columbus Methodist Church, where she accepted Jesus into her life and became a devout Christian. While young, her mother taught her to bake her first batches of tens of thousands of oatmeal cookies she would eventually share with family and friends until late in her life. No visit to Dottie’s was complete without savoring at least one.

She graduated from William MacFarland High School in Bordentown, NJ soon after her father, formerly the Sheriff of Roebling, tragically died in an auto accident. After graduating from high school, she served with the Red Cross at Fort Dix through World War II. Having multiples roles with the American Red Cross, she spent most of her time coordinating entertainment and emergency travel for the troops while her mother worked in the base laundry.

In 1947, she married Melvin S. Thompson of Burlington, NJ, who had served during WWII as an electrician aboard a destroyer escort in the North Atlantic, the S.S. O’Toole. Dottie became a homemaker after their first son, Brian M., was born in 1948 while they were living in Columbus. After Mel’s job led them to Narberth and Oaks, PA, they bought their first house in the newly developed Colonial Park section of Springfield, PA and soon after son David W. was born in 1953. There, the family attended Covenant Methodist Church where she served as a Sunday School teacher. After buying a historic cottage – Dun Rovin – in Harvey Cedars, NJ in 1963, the family moved to nearby Middletown Township in 1967. With salt water in her blood, she enjoyed vacations and hundreds of weekend escapes to Dun-Rovin until 1998. When inland, she delighted in gardening and enjoyed traveling in the States and to England.

Dottie and Mel divorced in 1972, after which she briefly worked at the Brandywine River Museum before becoming employed at Penn State’s Delaware County campus in 1973. While providing administrative support to several professors, her extraordinary gift for writing was soon recognized, enabling her to join and write for the campus’s Public Affairs Office until retiring in 1991. During that time, she made many new friends, including dozens of student teachers from outside the area. She kept in touch with many of them for the rest of her life. A life-long learner, she was very proud that she was able to earn an Associate’s Degree while working at PSU.

She is survived by her former husband Mel Thompson of Hemet, CA, their son Brian of Prairie Village, KS, and son David of Yellow Spring, WV. Also surviving are Brian’s daughter Melissa Beltrame (Robert), also of Prairie Village, and their daughters Catherine, Elizabeth and Isabelle, and Brian’s son Todd (Linsey) and daughter Taylor and son Luke of Dallas, TX.

She always said she wanted to go to Hershey when she died, and we know that she is in heaven with the angels enjoying chocolate sweets. Dottie will always be remembered with fondness as a loving mother and wife. She will be buried at the Columbus Cemetery following an 11:30AM service at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Columbus on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

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