Billie Jean's Story
Billie Jean Thompson was born in Danville on Sept. 5, 1930, to Wisdom and Edna (Wright) Nelson.
She accepted Jesus Christ at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist church as a young girl alongside her mother.
Ms. Billie peacefully passed away in the evening on Aug. 2, 2016, at the Hawthorne Inn.
She married her soulmate, Henry D. Thompson, and was at his side for 49 years, until his death in 2004.
After marriage and the birth of her first child, Billie joined Allen Chapel A.M.E. church to worship alongside her husband. She served as a devoted and faithful member of Allen Chapel serving on the Usher Board, Lay Organization and Trustee Board. Ms. Billie enjoyed sharing her time, talents and treasure at Allen Chapel, throughout the Body of Christ and across the Danville community.
Hired by the city of Danville in 1960, she broke the color barrier by accepting a new position as the first African-American meter maid. She went on to become the switchboard operator and renowned as "the voice of City Hall."
In her final job, she worked with Leek and Sons Funeral Home, where she served the community until the onset of her illness. During her stay at the Hawthorn Inn, she was a well-known face and often portrayed the role of unofficial greeter.
Ms. Billie lived her favorite saying out loud, "I'm not going to let nobody steal my joy!" She was a well-dressed trendsetter who loved to stroll across the stage. Her smile and enthusiasm for life had a way of making everyone feel at home. She was a fashionable social butterfly who loved people and comforting them with a smile and hug. Her hobbies included shopping, cooking, gardening and travel.
Billie served in the American Legion Auxiliary, Bradley - Mayberry Unit 736 Elks Lodge, Laura Lee Fellowship House, Cannon School PTA and the YWCA Board.
She was also a member of the Royalette's #2 for countless years; former president and Community Chairperson who helped to create a plethora of memories with the annual "Winter Frolic." The efforts of the organization were used to sponsor activities for youth and make charitable donations to the Danville/Champaign community.
Preceding her in death are her husband; parents; and siblings, William "Bubba," Charles and Phyllis Stacker and daughter-in-law, Eugenia Thompson.
Still cherishing her memory and life is her beloved children, daughters, Brigitte Thompson, Lori Thompson and Debra (Wallace) Wiley; son, Victor D. Thompson; brother, Joe L. (Dolores) Nelson .
Grandchildren, Victor II, Ryan (Windy), Jason (Frances), Alicia (Monte) Grison, Tyronne (Phebe), Melanie and Antonio.
Twelve great-grandchildren; god-children; cousins; nieces; nephews and step-son, Freddie.
Fondly missed by special friends of the heart too numerous to mention who have been supportive throughout her illness. You know who you are!
Thank you to the physicians, Hawthorne Inn staff and Hospice staff for your care and support.
A home-going celebration will commence at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 503 N. Jackson. Visitation will be from noon until the time of the service. Viewing will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, at Leek & Sons Funeral Home, 304 E. Williams. Officiating: Elder Tyson Parks. Cremation will follow.
Condolences may be sent to www.leekandsonsfuneralhome.com.
Published on August 6, 2016