Send a Sympathy Card
Plant Memorial Trees
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)
Martha Patt Thompson (Marcie), devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, great grandmother (proudly taping a picture of baby Eli with scrawled height and weight statistics onto her front door to announce his arrival to the world), loyal and steadfast friend (if you were her friend, she genuinely cared about your whole extended family…this is not an exaggeration), dedicated gardener, lover of nature’s beauty but sometime adversary of deer, groundhogs, topography, water, gravity and birds (most recently in her PD box), engaged citizen of this country and planet, child of God: she came into this world on October 21, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan and left its earthly confines from her home in Pepper Pike, Ohio on March 24, 2023 after a long life full of family and friends where challenges and pain along the way built a resiliency that never dulled her warmth and made her life’s overall good fortune and tenor of love all the sweeter.
Marcie grew up in Shaker Heights with her father and mother, John and Ruth Patt, and her two younger sisters, Patsy and Jojo. First on Lytle Road (where she witnessed the round-up of counterfeiters who had set up shop in the red barn in a field just beyond the backyard) and then on Landon Road (easily accessible to the Rapid Transit and the world it opened). Her dad’s career in radio combined with her mom’s glittering personality to imbue life with an exciting high-class show business feel tempered by a hard news undercurrent that facts and truth matter.
After being struck on her bicycle at age ten by a hit and run driver, Marcie had to learn to walk again as part of her long comeback. In sixth grade, she transferred from Malvern School to Laurel School, walking there and back with Emily Frum (Dowling Haresty) and becoming fast friends with Mary Jane Davis (Hartwell), Mary De Coningh (Emerson) and Mary French (Conway). These friendships would last a lifetime.
Upon high school graduation, “our personality gal…sparkling as ginger ale” (Laurel Leaves 1946) went off to Vassar College. Among her classmates were future sister-in-law Joan Thompson (Black) and Sally Nenner (Neville), who would become a tried-and-true lifetime friend. Marcie graduated from Vassar in 1950, majoring in American Culture, with her most important paper focused on Walt Whitman (a pack rat of the first magnitude, she would give this paper decidedly mixed reviews upon reading it through several times some seventy years later).
Marcie married Hayden Thompson, the love of her life, on June 26, 1951 at Christ Episcopal Church. Starting in the last year of the Truman presidency and continuing through the I Like Ike years, Marcie gave birth to five children in seven and a half years. The young family moved in late 1960 from Ingleside Road in Shaker Heights Ohio to the country, the Village of Pepper Pike, into a new home designed and built around Marcie’s penciled floor plans. There, on a lot with woods backing up onto the seventeenth hole of The Country Club golf course, Marcie and Hayden raised their family with an emphasis on education, physical activity, good manners, teamwork, and lots of fun, some of the time all mixed up together!
Marcie repeatedly invoked the queen coming to dinner in the hope that the very mention of it, the conjured regal image, would inspire better table manners. It did not help matters that Hayden often did a little light drum work with his spoon as he sipped his coffee. A constant for several years was Marcie’s admonishing refrain of “La chaise, la chaise”, meant to put a stop to her children rocking back in their chairs, but the warnings did not always prevent the splintering of her delicate French furniture. And if the queen had shown up on Monday night, she would have been treated to Poetry Night, Marcie’s invention where each family member read a poem out loud. “You are old Father William, and your hair turns increasingly white” turned quickly into “You are old Father Hayden, and your hair is increasingly non-existent”. Had the queen indeed come to dinner, depending on the night, she might have had to dutifully consume for the sake of international good will a few bites of the infamous dish known as Mrs. Thompson’s Boarding House Special. Hayden’s whispered advice on its initial appearance “Tell her you love it” ended up backfiring, and it was in the rotation for years.
When Marcie and Hayden separated and divorced in the mid-1970’s, Marcie took to gardening in a serious way, hands in the soil hour after hour, planting and weeding (sometimes under the moon, so deep was the solace she found there), reading and learning and planning. She kept up with her friends, continued to play bridge (she ultimately achieved a Bronze Life Master ranking) and to play golf (in accomplished enough fashion that she had three lifetime holes in one and in the championship flight one year she took many time club champion Shirley Thompson Brown to the 21st hole before her trusty Calamity Jane failed to sink a five foot side-hiller to keep the match going), and her laughter still soared above the chattering of voices and clinking and flashing of glasses and silverware on some Friday and Saturday evenings, entertaining often in her own home, but with her children mostly out of the house, she learned to enjoy her time alone, her own company and her self-sufficiency. Marcie was geographically adventurous, traveling extensively in Europe, China and Japan. She was also a savvy investor of the buy and hold school (time has proved this out), and she did her own taxes for years (in pencil first with eraser at hand and then in ink over the pencil). If she needed advice, the Orange Library was just down the road.
During Mayor Avery’s tenure, Marcie served as Clerk of Council for Pepper Pike, by this time a city! She was an active member of the Garden Club of Cleveland, serving as its President from 1989 to 1991, and a longtime member of the Womens Council at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Sunday afternoons for many years were set aside for staffing the visitors desk there, and Marcie would always visit her favorite painting, The Red Cape by Claude Monet (also known as The Red Kerchief and Madame Monet). Marcie won many awards for her flower arrangements, and for years she created and maintained flower arrangements at CMA.
Marcie absolutely adored being a grandmother, and this included trips to Sea World, Greenfield Village, and Williamsburg. Lucky first-born Kathryn accompanied her to Spain. And wrapped up in all of that, the Thanksgivings and the Christmases, the just dropping by with extra bulbs you might want to put into the ground, and all of the stuff in between, was what these young people, for that matter what all of her family regardless of age, felt in her presence, which was, quite simply, love…almost by osmosis…no dramatic gushing over the top stuff, just there in the air but certainly influenced by her enthusiasm and thoughtfulness, no big deal but a very big deal indeed.
As if further proof was required to show that fact is stranger than fiction, Marcie and Hayden married each other once again on June 26, 1999 at Christ Episcopal Church (yes, a copy and paste job but for the year) in the presence of their children and spouses and grandchildren, and the two of them lived together in sickness and in health in the house they had originally built in 1960 until Hayden’s death in 2007. In 2010, Marcie moved into a new house built on the lot right next door (floor plan and style and landscaping and gardens per her specifications). Every day for the next dozen or so years, on her way from the bedroom to the kitchen, she bid Good morning to a large painting of Hayden hanging in the front hall – “He has yet to say good morning back!” Channeled him enough, though, that she continued with a quiet generosity to various charitable causes during her life…and this will continue after her death.
Marcie quit smoking in the late 1970’s at the urging of Joanie Black, but COPD started to catch up with her in the 2000’s, and she pretty much required supplemental oxygen 24-7 the last decade or so of her life. This did not at first curtail her many activities or her long-distance driving jaunts, including many trips to North Carolina to visit Marnie and Stephen, Patsy and Ernie, and Kathryn and Joe. The stories of these trips seemed to increasingly involve the kindness of strangers. The crowning finale perhaps was covering Princeton to Cleveland in eight hours at the age of 82 after leaving Meghan’s graduation festivities at about 3:30 in the afternoon. “I just got going, saw no sense in stopping and got in before midnight.” Admittedly, on the front side of the trip, from Cleveland to Princeton, she did get a little lost and found her beloved Toyota Sienna van (with its bridge-inspired license plates 7NT X XXX) in the middle of a small-town New Jersey Memorial Day parade, leading to a police escort out of town pointed in the right direction. On her arrival, she raved about the late May floral and fauna along the route…it was to die for, and thankfully she did not and no one else did!
Marcie had always followed national and world events with great interest, and in her last years the rise in division and hate based on skin color, religion, and ethnicity, the decline of civil discourse and respect for plain truth and objective reality, the disregard for the common good and long-held principles such as one person one vote and no one person is above the law, all this troubled her greatly, and she was not shy in expressing her views about powerful people she saw as bent on wrecking our country under the guise of taking it back, necessitating a gentle reminder now and then along the lines that judging from the bumper stickers on his truck the generator installation guy is not likely to be receptive to persuasion on this subject.
While Marcie took herself to task in the last few years of her life for what she perceived to be her growing impatience (“I used to think patience was one of my best qualities”) and her lack of seriousness of purpose when she was younger (there is ample evidence that cuts the other way), she was at peace with the life she led, extraordinarily grateful for her good luck, for the family she came from and the family she helped build and hold together, for her life with Hayden, with all of its trials and tribulations (“He’s finally letting me in to join him!” and “If he got in, I’m a shoo in!”), for her formal education, for her friends (they were brilliant and so were their kids!), for her material good fortune, for the country and world she lived in, in particular its natural beauty which never ceased to delight her as if she was seeing and smelling and hearing things for the very first time. Even as the decline in her health accelerated, amid the periodic and frightening confusion over what was happening, she was still trying to figure things out (“I’m trying to get a better idea”), and she never lost her sense of humor (after a physical struggle with what once was the simplest of tasks, a laugh and a look that said, “Can you believe that it’s come to this?”). Well done Marcie Patt, well done Marcie Thompson…your work here is over, and you have more than earned your rest until the next great adventure whatever that may be, and you will live in our hearts forever!
Marcie’s parents, John and Ruth Patt, and her husband, W. Hayden Thompson, predeceased her. Her survivors include her sisters Patricia McNealy (William, deceased) and Joan Kincade (Christopher, deceased); her children John, William (Siobhan), Martha (Stephen Johnson), Patricia (Ernest Bode), and Michael (Donna); her grandchildren Kathryn (Joseph Schram), William, Meghan, Michael Hayden, Sarah, Joan, Ruby, and Mimi; her great grandchildren Eli and Ada; and numerous nephews and nieces.
Marcie’s family wishes to express their deep appreciation to the wonderful people from the Hospice of the Western Reserve and Cherished Companions who helped make Marcie’s final weeks on earth much more comfortable than they would otherwise have been, particularly Mary Jane King, Wendolyn Witherow, and Margaret Masbayi.
For those so inclined, donations may be made in Marcie’s memory to The Cleveland Museum of Art (https://www.clevelandart.org, 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland OH 44106) or Laurel School (https://www.laurelschool.org, 1 Lyman Cir, Shaker Heights, OH 44122).
A memorial service celebrating Marcie’s life will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 2 PM at Christ Episcopal Church, 3445 Warrensville Center Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122. Interment of ashes at Lake View Cemetery. Arrangements by Brown-Forward Funeral Home.
The service will be live streamed via a link on this page.