Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Mapp Thompson

1932 - 2024

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Obituary of Sylvia Mapp Thompson

Sylvia M. Thompson was born in Laurel, Mississippi, to Grimmer Wyatt Mapp, Sr. and Angelina Brown Mapp on July 13, 1932. She began her life in Laurel with her parents who named her for the screen actress Sylvia Sidney, and, yes, Sylvia Virginia Mapp Thompson was, in her own way, larger than life. We who love and know her can attest to her stage presence, both on and off her beloved keyboard stage, whether she was playing the organ, harpsichord, or piano--or just out there on Sarasota Bay, fishing with family, reeling in the snapper—she was smiling. Her sister Diane Elizabeth Mapp Frazer was her first sibling love and then Grimmer Wyatt Mapp, Jr, her little brother "Bo" came along, to give her a little taste of mischief along with his unmistakable adoration of his big sister Sylvia. She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings; and husband Jesse Jackson Thompson.

Before receiving her degree in music from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN, she studied at Mississippi State College For Women. During her college years at UT, she met and married her husband Jesse Jackson “Jack” Thompson who once explained, when asked, about his initial attraction to Sylvia: “She is competent,” he said. It was simple enough. The romance took off from there. And so they began a life together, a team of two, supporting each other’s work and passions with family at the core of their attentiveness. Along the way they found themselves committed to their calling for benevolence with their resources and time donated to their many charitable causes.

Sylvia’s love of music, beginning in her piano-lesson days as a child, was a major theme throughout her life. She played the organ at many churches throughout the years and was the accompanist for the Knoxville Choral Society under the direction of J. B. Lyle for many years. She formed close alliances with many musicians and organists, namely the late Richard “Dick” Peek and his wife Betty of Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Charlotte, NC, and the late Dale Hooey, former organist of All Angels By The Sea Episcopal Church in Longboat Key, FL. She was a great devotee of hymns, so much so that daughters received their own personal hymnals with full names engraved on the covers in gold. She loved to watch and listen to Peek not only play the organ keyboard, but also the organ pedals with his accomplished feet, finishing up the Toccato movement of Charles-Marie Widor’s Symphony for Organ No. 5 as she gathered us, encircling Dick, as he played the last notes to our echoing applause. As recently as Epiphany 2020 Dale Hooey directed Sylvia from his organ bench as she accompanied him on the piano at All Angels Episcopal Church.

She is survived by her three daughters: Mary Virginia Thompson, Jessie Lynn Thompson (Jeff Isom), Jo Anne Thompson Manofsky (Larry); grandchildren T.J. Derham, Matthew Derham, Kyle Derham (Angeline), along with their father Thomas Derham (Kim Zecchin); grandchildren Laura Manofsky Olesky (Sam), Douglas Manofsky (Ali), and Phillip Manofsky; many nieces and nephews; great nephews and niece; and eight beloved great-grandchildren.

Huge gratitude to Greg Erickson (Betsy) her 30-year legal adviser and friend; Janet Wornall, longtime adviser and friend (Charlotte); Betty Taylor (Charles), longtime adviser and friend (Longboat Key); Susan Roberts, close friend who brought her home from the hospital on Chrismas Eve and traveled to Sylvia’s side on her final day of life. Longtime personal caregiver Sonia; the nurses and aides at Take Care of Sarasota, including Gabby, Holly, Hannah, Ivy, Maija, Laura, Lydia, Angela and others. Tidewell Hospice nurse Alex who worked under the guidance of Sylvia’s primary doctor Gregory Ferreira, MD. Numerous friends and colleagues as well. She loved you all.

Sylvia said in recent months, “I’ve had a great life.” Thanks be to God. Lover of life, lover of God, lover of family and friends, she brought to all of us the best of her talents, the best of her appreciation for each life she touched, each life that touched her own. Being engaged is what it’s all about. She knew the importance of celebrating and affirming life even in the darkest of times. Hosting annual Christmas caroling parties became a favorite way to do just that.

She would not have missed one minute that God granted her. What an example and legacy. Find the good in everything. Keep doing the fun things that you love. Get a kick out of it while you’re doing whatever it may be. Love God. For his grace and your talents. Love family and friends who make up the fabric of your everyday life. Give thanks. At the end of the day, like Sylvia’s mother used to say, remind yourself, “It was a good day.”

Sylvia passed from this life on Friday, March 22, 2024. A private burial will be held at Evergreen Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at the Chapel of Covenant Presbyterian Church on April 5, 2024, at 3 p.m. with Bob Henderson, Senior Minister, officiating. The family will receive friends after the service. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the music program at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 East Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28204, in memory and honor of Sylvia. A gathering to celebrate Sylvia Thompson’s life will also be held in Longboat Key, FL at a future date.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Services