Obituary of Edra Thompson
THOMPSON, Edra Elizabeth – Born on St. Joseph Island on February 24, 1926 to parents Herbert James Leonard Wooley and Elma Leonie (Pohly) Wooley. Her father, a United Church Minister, was out visiting in his church community, became ill and died when Edra was 2 years old. Her mother moved the family to Sarnia to be near their relatives who lived just across the river in Michigan, purchased a house and raised 3 children on a pension of $300 a year. Edra attended a country school and actually did not start formal schooling until she was 6 – 7 years old and was therefore much more advanced than other children in the class. The teacher was so busy that she often had Edra assist her. Upon graduation, the teacher took Edra on a trip to Niagara Falls in appreciation for her unpaid assistance which was the occasion of the King & Queen’s visit.
Edra won a Scholarship to Victoria College at University of Toronto and took an Institute of Child Studies course graduating in 1949. It was while at University that she met her future husband, James B. Thompson, who was attending on a Veterans Service Grant. They married, on campus, February 9, 1951. Always interested in the teaching of children, she taught for the CNIB and worked for St. Catharines Children’s Aid Society. Edra then took a teaching course (standing first in class) in Hamilton and began teaching for several years for the St. Catharines District School Board, ending her teaching career as Principal of Maple Grove School on King St. just outside of Vineland.
Edra was a Past President of the University Women’s Club, sang as a soloist in choirs, and contributed to other organizations. She and her husband have owned property on the Escarpment just west of Vineland since 1961 and she helped physically in the building of their family home. This involved the re-opening of an un-opened road allowance, road improvements, bringing in telephone and electricity AND digging their own road into the home site. After dynamiting the foundation themselves, Edra herself carried stones to the construction site to be used in the building of their house, chimney, etc. She did this, while teaching, keeping their home running in St. Catharines and found time to help others. Upon the recommendation of friends, John Howard and Levi Moyer, Edra was a recipient of the Confederation Medal awarded by the Government of Canada.
Edra was the author of several books, Search Me, the Heart of Learning; The School with the Heart at Ben Rockwood my Search Centre; Ben Rockwood (an enormous publication); as well as finishing a book her father had started before he died, The Voyagers Daughter.
She is predeceased by brothers, Woodrow W. (Vada) and Charles L. (Jean) Wooley. Both were United Church Ministers and leave surviving children. There are also relatives in the United States.
We sincerely thank Margaret Wooley for her faithful companionship while in Hospitals and Nursing Homes; John Howard for his friendship; Darlene Horsley Hurst for her help and assistance contributing to Edra’s comfort; Jack and Jane Thompson for being there in the final hours and days of Edra’s life. We also thank West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Juravinski Hospital, Niagara Gardens and the United Mennonite Home for looking after Edra after her accidental fall through to her passing.
Mark your 2018 Calendars for Saturday, April 14th when a reception is planned at the Tallman Fireside Room, 3277 King St., Vineland from 2-4 pm. A notice of this gathering will be published again when the date is closer. “Merry Christmas to all”.
If desired, memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice.