Anniversary surprises for the Thompsons | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | August 21, 2016 4:00 pm
Last Updated: August 21, 2016 at 11:22 am
60th ANNIVERSARY. Johnnie and Thelma Thompson were recognized for their 60th wedding anniversary by the president and first lady .
One surprise followed another for Johnnie and Thelma Thompson last week.
On Aug. 6, 60 family members and friends joined the couple as they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
A few days later, the mail brought another happy anniversary message, this one on White House stationery from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The presidential congratulations was orchestrated by the Thompson’s niece Sylvia R. Ross. Ross, a Washington D.C. resident, recently retired from the U.S. Department of Education after 31 years.
Ross had asked the first family to help her family celebrate the occasion.
“I didn’t know they were going to do all this,” Johnnie said. “I was really shocked,” Thelma added.
He explained that he knew that some family members would be coming to their home to prepare a celebratory meal. “We didn’t know they were going to do all this. We had over 60 people from all over. Some people we had not seen for a long time.”
On Aug. 6, some of the Thompson’s grandchildren took over the kitchen, while family friends handled the barbeque duties on the back patio. Thelma said, “They told me not to do anything.”
The Thompsons met in Walterboro, introduced by a woman they both knew. “We courted for a few years,” Johnnie said.
Johnnie was in the U.S. Army, and Thelma was finishing up her classes at Colleton Training School.
After graduating, Thelma moved to live with family in New York while Johnnie was stationed in Germany.
“We got married in New York City,” Johnnie said. “We rode down Fifth Avenue in a big car with cans (hanging off the rear bumper), all that stuff.”
After the wedding, Johnnie and Thelma set up housekeeping back in Germany. Their eldest child, Glenn Ronald Thompson, was born there.
One daughter, Anita Thompson, was born in Virginia and Rochelle Thompson Simmons was born in Walterboro.
By GEORGE SALSBERRY firstname.lastname@example.org