With more than 50 neighbors, friends and family surrounding him, Lou Thompson gazed at the brown street sign bearing the name of his wife. “Beverly Thompson Way,” it read, in honor of her decades-long commitment to Forest Park as director of the Howard Mohr Community Center.
For 41 years the couple lived in a three-flat just a few doors away from where the sign was unveiled Saturday. He still lives there. Thompson, a widower since August, spoke with a voice barely louder than a whisper. He declined the mayor’s invitation to say a few words to the crowd gathered around him.
“I appreciate the attention that she’s getting,” Thompson told a reporter as the crowd dispersed. He didn’t say much more and fought to keep his emotions down.
Earlier this month the village council voted unanimously to dedicate a portion of Wilcox, where the Thompsons made their home, to Beverly’s memory. Her sudden death took the community by surprise and has drawn a steady outpouring of glowing remembrances. Beverly Thompson had been the director of the community center for a decade, and for many in town she represented friendship and fun. She led seniors on hundreds of trips, organized overnight gatherings for children and always participated in her neighborhood’s block parties.
In the wake of the 65-year-old woman’s death, Beverly Thompson was dubbed by neighbors and friends as Forest Park’s party girl.
In addition to the smiles, Beverly Thompson also brought comfort and heart to residents of the community. She ran the food pantry that serves low income families.
“As evidenced by all of you here today, Bev Thompson touched so many people’s lives,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said during the Oct. 25 dedication. “We all felt that it would be proper to permanently recognize Bev’s life accomplishments and we do that today by officially dedicating this portion of Wilcox to her.”
Michael Thompson, the couple’s son, stood with his wife and children as his father pulled a string to release the paper-covering on the new sign. The condolences, he said, are a nice reminder of who his mother was.