Monday, January 14, 2019
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Veronica Thompson would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was kind, caring, and compassionate with a listening ear always at the ready. It was easy to see that there was nothing Veronica treasured more than her family, and she lived to nurture and care for her husband, children, and grandchildren. A longtime member of the community she loved, her selfless touch extended to so many. Life will never be the same without Ronnie here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The first half of the 1940s was primarily filled with days of war as WWII raged on, but there was dancing in the streets as the war came to an end in 1945. The days, weeks, and months that followed were a transitional time in America as we shifted to being a nation at peace once again. It was during this time of great change that Gerrit and Esther (Lantero) Waterlander were filled with great joy as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Esther Veronica on December 21, 1946, in Paw Paw, Michigan. The youngest in her family, she was raised in Decatur alongside her older siblings, Jacob, Mary, and Margie. Veronica’s father was a farmer and machinist while her mother worked at Arnold Tackle Company in Paw Paw. She attended local schools including Decatur High School where she was very social and well liked. After graduating from high school in 1965, Veronica took art and anthropology classes at Western Michigan University.
Not to be forgotten during her years as a young woman was Veronica’s introduction to the young man of her dreams. His name was Frank Thompson III, and he was a lifeguard at Maple Island in Paw Paw when she was there for a party. As the story goes, Frank was struck by her beauty, and he asked her out three times before she finally agreed. Ronnie loved sunbathing and went all out with the baby oil and polka dot bikini, and she truly was a vision. Although Frank was two years older, a relationship ensued, and they soon found themselves deeply in love. On November 11, 1967, the sweethearts were married at First Presbyterian Church in Paw Paw while Frank was on leave from the Army. The newlyweds took a road trip back to his base at Ft. Louis, Washington, near Tacoma, and they spent two years on base.
There was never anything that was more precious to Ronnie than her loved ones. Together she and Frank welcomed three children including Natalie, Frankie, and Christopher into their hearts and home. In 1980 they built a log home in Paw Paw which benefitted from Veronica’s eye for decorating. She ran an efficient home that was welcoming for her family and friends. Veronica treasured everything her children ever made her, and they were always first no matter what else was going on. Veronica was sure to make them a hot breakfast on a cold morning, and most times they were awoken with kisses. Proud of her Italian heritage, she loved making Italian foods, and she proudly carried on the traditional Italian affection and long goodbyes with no less than two kisses and a hug. Veronica’s Christian faith was important to her so she made sure the kids said their prayers every night before bed and before every meal. As a family they took lots of trips including a few camping trips up North where she enjoyed fishing and mushroom hunting, a trip to Disney World when each child turned five, a ski trip to Steamboat Springs, and multiple trips to Florida to visit family. Ronnie loved the holidays and went all out, from finding just the right tree to making big, traditional meals where everyone had more than enough to eat (usually more than they even wanted). Christmas was always her favorite, and her entire house was beautifully decorated. Of course she took all kinds of pictures because the memories were so important to her. It was so special that she was able to enjoy this past Christmas including visits from her extended church family from First Baptist Church of Paw Paw.
There were so many things that Ronnie enjoyed throughout her life. She lived for gardening, which included her herbs, veggies, flowers, and wildflowers which surrounded her home. Ronnie even entered a contest and took second place for her gardens. Many didn’t know that she was artistic, but she worked with charcoal, colored chalk, and oils. She especially loved to focus on Native American imagery. Veronica had a collection of arrowheads from her father as she learned to appreciate their culture from him. She treasured the jewelry that her father made from polished rocks and different stones. Ronnie took her health very seriously and was religious in her 45 minute walk every night with her dog, Pepper, until her death. More recently she loved the companionship of a stray kitten, later named Ruby Sue, who filled the void after her children became adults. In addition to vacationing with her family, Ronnie and Frank went on a few cruises and also took trips in their Comanche airplane until they sold the plane to buy their house. She gained inspiration from garden and home decorating books and magazines, and since she and Frank ran Thompson Funeral Home together for years she decorated the funeral home in addition to her own home layout and details. A nature lover, Veronica loved her bird feeders and rescued animals including birds and bunnies. In addition to running the funeral home with her husband, Ronnie spent 23 years working at the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. With her own flare for style, Ronnie always made sure to look her best as it has been said she even shaved her legs and put her hair in rollers before going to the hospital to give birth!
With unending love for others, Veronica Thompson was a gift in the lives of many. Always thoughtful, she was all about the little things and knew how to make the ordinary extraordinary. Ronnie was so proud of her family, and she was a lifelong nurturer. Accompanied by an unwavering faith, she exemplified what it means to be a servant. Dearly loved, Ronnie will be forever missed.
Veronica “Ronnie” Thompson, of Paw Paw, died peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on January 11, 2019. Surviving are her husband of 51 years, Frank III; 3 children: Natalie Thompson, Frank IV (Sara) Thompson and Christopher (Jody) Thompson; 2 grandchildren: Ethan and Olivia Thompson, and anticipation of another grandson in March; 2 sisters: Mary (Albert) Asma and Margie Johnson; and many devoted nieces and nephews. Veronica was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Jacob Waterlander. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Monday from 4-8 p.m. at the Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870 where services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Burial will take place at Harrison Cemetery, Decatur. Please visit Veronica’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Paw Paw, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or West Michigan Cancer Center.