The Joyous Life of Eugenia Lewis Thompson
Eugenia Lewis Thompson, known to family and friends as Jeannie, Mama, Mom, Mother Dear, Grandma Jeannie, Grandma, and Grams… lived an amazingly rich and beautiful life that was premised upon limitless unconditional love for God, family, and friends. She embodied the principles of honesty, charity, gratitude, and faith in God that remained steadfast in her heart and which continue to survive in those of us who were so blessed by her touch.
The youngest of seven children, she was born in rural Homer, Louisiana on January 16, 1925, in the family home of her Father, John Henry Lewis and Mother, Mattie Bonner Lewis.
Eugenia attended elementary through high school in St. John’s Parrish, a racially segregated rural area of Northern Louisiana. Her Father was a carpenter, who passed away when she was a very young child. Her Mother, Mattie Lewis, was the homemaker of the family.
Eugenia graduated from Grambling College, in Louisiana, and shortly thereafter married Floyd Luke. Seeking a better life for her family and children, they moved to Los Angeles in the late ’40s, where subsequently she gave birth to Mac and Robert. Floyd had many health issues and they moved North to Sacramento where the cost of living was lower. Eugenia assumed the major role of raising the children and taking care of her young family. After getting settled in Sacramento, their youngest son, Eric was born.
Understanding the value of education, she obtained her teaching credential while working as a social worker during the day. As the primary breadwinner, she supplemented the family income by doing laundry for various people, working tirelessly into the wee hours of the morning.
In 1960, her husband, Floyd, unexpectedly passed away, which left Eugenia with the sole responsibility of raising her family. She met and married Clinton Clay, and out of that marriage gave birth to her youngest child, Mildred in 1962. This marriage ended in 1968, and Eugenia was again single, caring for Eric and Mildred who were still living at home. She then attended Sacramento State College, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Education and became more of a specialized educator, with a focus on reading-challenged children. She retired after a successful 30-year-long teaching career.
In 1988, she married Vincent Thompson, the apple of her eye, aboard ship on one of their many adventurous cruises. Their marriage was pure bliss. Vincent was a pioneer and founder of Thompson’s Funeral Home and Rose Chapel, the first of its kind to serve the Black community in Sacramento. Their life was filled with adventure, fabulous times with family, travel, and most importantly, spiritual fulfillment as one of the founding members of the Oak Park Methodist Church, where we are honoring her today.
While this chronology describes the path she walked, it is her character, her grit, strength, and most importantly her most loving and welcoming heart that truly reflects who she was and forever will be in spirit. She was a strong, educated, spiritual woman who never shied away from teaching, from loving, from protecting, from giving her all to those in need. She fulfilled her spiritual and civic duties by joining her loyal church members to organize and successfully operate a food gifting program every Saturday for those less fortunate. She always remained Glorious and Beautiful in the eyes of God. Faith was the footing of her foundation. Her presence in life, and now in spirit, was and remains enormous.
She was truly the family historian. She never missed a birthday of her 4 children, and a combined 35 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Her upbringing always navigated her to Do What Is Right!!! She was very spiritual, and her belief was that “God Don’t Like Ugly”. To her the cup was never half full…it was never half empty…it was always full of what you needed and when you needed it.
She was tough, and even though she was small in stature, she held her ground and unapologetically voiced her opinion whether you wanted to hear it or not!!! When asked for help, she never said “No”, or “I can’t”. She was ALWAYS THERE with whatever she could offer!!!
She believed in hard work, education, hard work, honesty, hard work, loving family, hard work, standing your ground, hard work, forgiveness, hard work, always being respectful of others...and Hard Work.
She always would say, “Do your best…that is all that you can do. Things will turn out as God intends; but remember you should do your best.” She expected nothing short of that.
We all cherish her, and although we miss her now, the impact that she had on our lives, individually and collectively, has not fully set in…
Preceding her in death are her Father, John, Mother, Mattie, 4 sisters Vivian, Tessie, Johnnye and Neulon, her 2 brothers Sellus and Bob, three husbands, Floyd, Clinton and Vincent, her daughter Janice who died at birth and her eldest son Floyd McCurtis (“Mac”). She always said she was so blessed to have had the best children and family that anyone could ever have hoped for.
She is survived by her children, Robert and his wife Kaye, Eric and Mildred and her husband, William, Joanie (Mac’s wife), 15 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-grandchildren along with countless friends who were also family to her.
She will be missed, and we will always cherish the precious moments we were so blessed to share with her.