La Grande, 1931-2021
Mary Alice Thompson, 89, of La Grande, died Oct. 13, 2021, at her residence at the Grande Ronde Retirement Residence, surrounded by her loving family.
Her graveside service took place Monday, Oct. 18 at the Sumpter Cemetery. A celebration of Mary’s life is also planned for Memorial Day 2022.
Mary was born on Nov. 26, 1931, in Baker City to Green Hudspeth and Rachel Hanby Hudspeth. Mary’s early years were spent on the ranch owned by her father and uncles. The ranch is now known as the “Red Horse Ranch.” She enjoyed riding horses with her siblings and living in the mountains. Mary always had a cheerful greeting for the guests coming to stay at the ranch or to go on a guided hunt.
In 1935, Mary lost her father to a hunting accident. It was at this time her mother moved the family to Sumpter, where Mary’s uncles, Wallace “Spud” Hudspeth and Earnest Hudspeth and their families lived. Mary loved riding her horse to the McEwen School and feeding the cows on the hay wagon in the pasture that is now Phillips Reservoir.
Mary met Sam Valentine and they were married in Baker City. They had three children together: Terry, Sammy and Jody. After this union dissolved, Mary met the love of her life, Samuel Thompson. Two more daughters were added to the family, Pam and Cindy. After living in various areas of Oregon, Mary and Samuel settled in Pendleton.
Mary loved to dance, read and ride horses. Her children loved to listen to the stories she would tell of her childhood days. Because Mary was an avid believer that first impressions were the lasting ones, she always looked her best and taught her children the same. Once you met Mary, it was like you had known her forever.
Mary made many friends while working as a bartender. She was also a certified flagger. Mary continued working until the age of 80.
Mary was always looking for an adventure. She enjoyed camping, going to flea markets with family and attending the Pendleton Round-Up festivities. And if you were up for the challenge, Mary was always ready for that next card game.
Mary suffered many broken hearts with the loss of her son Sammy (1989), her husband Samuel (1995), her mother Rachel (2000), her daughter Jody (2017), her brother William and three grandsons, Brian, Cody and Hank.
She is survived by her son, Terry (Kathy) Valentine of Union; her daughters, Pam (Lynn) Wiley of Pendleton, and Cindy (Mark) Mecham of Watford City, North Dakota; her sisters, Jean Marrs, Joyce Pierson and Sharon Soleseng; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews.
Contributions in honor of Mary can be made to the Pendleton Fraternal Order of the Eagles No. 28 through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
To offer online condolences to Mary’s family, go to www.grayswestco.com.