Arvilla Mae (Gunderson) Thompson, age 93, of Lancaster, passed away on Thursday, January 18, 2018, at Orchard Manor Nursing Home with her family at her side. She was born on May 24, 1924, in Wautoma Township, the daughter of George and Palma (Johnson) Gunderson. After her high school graduation in 1942 she moved to Chicago and was a nanny for a physician in the city. She left Chicago in 1945 to be united in marriage to Milton Thompson after his honorable discharge from the United States Army on November 17, 1945, at the West Holden Lutheran Church, Wautoma Township.
After their marriage, they moved to Platteville, WI so Milton could attend college at University of Wisconsin- Platteville. Upon receiving his degree, they moved to Lancaster where Milton worked at Production Credit Association and Arvilla raising their growing family. As their five children grew, Arvilla started to reupholster furniture out of her home in addition to raising the family. This became a fulltime job for her once the children grew and left home. Sons and grandsons would many times be found sitting in the family room watching television and tearing apart furniture for her to make beautiful and new again. Her expertise was widely known, and people came from all over to have her recover the furniture for their homes. There was no job she did not take on. She continued her trade until her fingers were no longer nimble enough to continue.
Arvilla loved to bake and there was always a cake or cookies freshly made and ready for her children and grandchildren. She also loved to travel, taking her very young granddaughter to Houston, TX, where she played in the ocean and had her very first plane ride. She opened her home to a grandson while he attended the University of Wisconsin – Platteville so he did not have to live in the dorms and could eat good home cooked meals. Arvilla was also very involved in church activities until she could no longer drive. She could be seen by her neighbors sitting on her front porch watching all the neighborhood activities until she moved to Orchard Manor after suffering a stroke.
Survivors include her children: Robert (Susan), Lancaster; Sharon (Gary) Wildman, Cassville; Larry (Pat), Monroe; Dennis (Earlene), Charleston, WV; daughter-in-law, Barbara Thompson, Menominee, MI; 11 grandsons; 3 granddaughters; 20 great-grandchildren; one sister, Doris (Charles) Simonson, Wautoma; sisters-in-law: Nancy (Bill) Webster, Elaine (Harry) Walker; many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, Arvilla was preceded in death by her husband Milton in 1976; son, Roger in 2008; infant daughter, and a brother, Milo (Janice) Gunderson.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 22, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Lancaster with Pastor David Froemming officiating. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Lancaster. Family and friends may call on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until time of services at the church. In lieu of plants and flowers, an Arvilla M. Thompson Memorial Fund has been established. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory in Lancaster is serving the family.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff of Orchard Manor Nursing Home and Grant County Hospice for the care given to Arvilla. May she rest in peace.