EDGEFIELD, Ga.- Mary Eleanor Thurmond Tompkins, 95, educator, civic leader, gourmet cook, devoted family member and genuine friend of many, died on July 15, 2004, at University Hospital in Augusta, Ga. Born in Edgefield on May 31, 1909, she was the youngest of six children of the late Eleanor Gertrude Strom Thurmond and the Honorable John William Thurmond, and the last surviving member of her immediate family. After 35 of marriage, she became the widow of John Robert Tompkins. She was educated at Edgefield High School, and received a B.S. Degree in Home Economics from Winthrop College in 1931. She also did post graduate work at the University of South Carolina and Teacher's College of Columbia University in New York. Following graduation from college she traveled extensively in Europe an later traveled to Japan. She taught Home Economics in Clover, S.C. and Home Eco nomics and elementary grades in Edgefield for a combined total of 27 years. After retirement, Mrs. Tompkins continued to teach in substitute positions in Edgefield County Schools. She was a Sunday School teacher and a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Edgefield, where she was a Circle member and president of the Women's Missionary Union. She was a member and past Regent of the Edgefield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, former member and past president of the Edgefield Village Gardners, and a member of the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century. Mrs. Tompkins was also a former member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an honorary education society. She was Chairman, for two years, of Edgefield County's Beautification Committee, and during that time, Edgefield received the Governor's Award. She worked with the Edgefield County Bloodmobile, and was actively involved with the Literary program, and volunteered to help in other local organizations. She was a member of the Ed gefield County Historical Society. She served on the Board of Directors of the Strom Thurmond Scholarship Committee, and was a member of the State and National Education Associations. On one occasion, she addressed the Assembly of the S.C. Education Association at its annual meeting in Columbia. Other honors include being a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto. She is predeceased by her brothers, Dr. John William Thurmond, Jr., Dr. Allan George Thurmond, Sen. James Strom Thurmond, and sisters, Anna Gertrude Thurmond, and twin sisters, Martha Evelyn Thurmond Bishop. Having been a loyal wife, loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and beloved matriarch of her family, she is survived by her daughter, Mary Thurmond Tompkins Freeman, and son-in-law, Ted Barron Freeman of Lugoff, S.C., and three grandchildren, , Ted Barron Freeman II, of Atlanta, Ga., Elise Townsend Freeman Crosby, of Georgetown, S.C. and Robert Tompkins Thurmond Freeman, of Washington, D.C., and three great-grand children. A service of celebration for the life, and mourning of the death of Mary Thurmond Tompkins will be held at First Baptist Church of Edgefield on Monday, July 19, 2004, at 10 a.m., conducted by her present minister, Rev. Keith Goretzka, and her former minister, Rev. Dr. Lewis E. McCormick, and Derrell Billingsley, minister of music. Interment will follow in the Willowbrook Cemetery of Edgefield. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, Box 624, Edgefield, S.C., 29824, or to the Mary Thurmond Tompkins Scholarship Fund, Winthrop University Foundation Office, 155 Tillman Hall, Rock Hill, S.C., 20733. The family will receive friends on Sunday, July 18, 2004, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home.
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