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After more than three weeks in St. Vincent Hospital, Thompson died of COVID-19 on April 21. She was 58 years old.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Hendrickson Thompson will be remembered by those who loved her as a compassionate, industrious woman and devoted mother. She was always intent on “living my best life,” a phrase she had put on a T-shirt, which she wore often, much to the amusement of her daughter.
“Oh, she was a very sassy lady,” Aleia Thompson said. “She was very happy and outgoing. She really just loved to be around family and friends. She wasn’t ever judgmental or a gossiper. She just loved you for who you truly were.”
An Arsenal Tech graduate, Hendrickson Thompson dedicated much of her life to serving those around her, especially her daughter. Throughout a career that included stops at McDonald’s, Glass Container, Hooks, and 27 years in the advertising department at The Indianapolis Star & Indianapolis News, Thompson proudly juggled multiple jobs at one time to provide for her daughter.
“She always was doing everything possible to make me happy,” Aleia Thompson said. “No matter what it was, anything I wanted, she gave it to me.”
That included helping Aleia Thompson find the determination to get through college. Now a proud Indiana State University graduate, she never found college to be easy. She cried almost every day, telling her mother she wanted to quit.
But Hendrickson Thompson never let her. Instead, she listened to her daughter, then pushed her to persevere.
Part of Aleia Thompson’s motivation was knowing her mother was going through similar challenges. While Aleia Thompson was at Indiana State, Hendrickson Thompson was pursuing her associate’s degree from Ball State University.
“We graduated the same year, and she didn’t even go to her own graduation,” Aleia Thompson said. “She came to mine. She even got up early that morning to design my grad cap. … She loved me so much. She was very proud of me.”
Hendrickson Thompson was beloved by many and fostered deep friendships, including one of 38 years with Gayle Tebbenkamp. To some of her nieces and nephews, Aleia Thompson said, she was like a second mother. Her great niece LaNiyah Neville, Aleia Thompson said, spent time with her every week, and the two forged a very special bond.