Matilda “Tillie” West Thompson (74) passed away on April 11, 2020 in Newport, RI from complications of COVID-19 with her beloved daughters by her side and her cherished son’s voice on the phone. Tillie exuded joy in life and brought it to everyone she met with a smile that warmed your heart. She believed in living life to the fullest, and actually did it. She was a bright star to all who knew her … small in stature, but larger than life!
Tillie was born in DeRidder, LA on May 11, 1945 and spent her childhood between DeRidder and Jasper, TX where she built friendships that would last a lifetime. With her oldest friend and blood-sister, Kay Griffin, and 6 other Jasper childhood friends, Tillie was a founding member of the “BFF Club”. These women always found a way to maintain their connection over the years and continued to tighten their bond through annual getaways together. Family and friendships were always important to Tillie and she made everyone she met feel like a million bucks.
Tillie loved to travel the world. In her 20’s and 30’s she took annual buying trips to Asia. Later, she discovered that her passion was “in service through friendship” and worked as a concierge in Martha’s Vineyard, Naples, Boston, and Newport. She attended countless congresses of Les Clefs d’Or as a top concierge and 20-year member of this elite worldwide association. Despite her hectic schedule, she never missed an opportunity to be with her family. She travelled regularly with her brother and sister, and often visited her 3 children across the country. No matter the obstacle, she never missed a celebration, Christmas, or milestone of her beloved grandchildren.
Above all, Tillie loved spending time at the family “camp” in DeRidder. Her family has been gathering there for over 100 years and was truly the place she considered home. At the camp, like everywhere else Tillie was, the music was loud and the drinks were pouring. She loved to jitterbug, with a special fondness for 60’s and 70’s dance music. You could count on Tillie to be the first on the dance floor and the last to leave.
Tillie loved history. After retiring, she enjoyed working as a Newport tour guide in her free time. She was also active in the Newport Yacht Club, Trinity Church, Potter League for Animals, Sandpipers Women’s Club, and was a regular sponsor of international officers attending the Naval War College in Newport.
Tillie is survived by her daughters and son, Elizabeth Mortimer (Mark) of Pittsburgh, PA, Susan Baer of Sunnyvale, CA, and Robert Baer of McAllister, OK; grandchildren Madeleine, Simon and Lucinda Mortimer; brother Paul Thompson (Margaret) of Austin, TX and sister Susie Thompson Burge (Benny) of DeRidder, LA; nephews Michael Mayeaux (Meredith) of Norfolk, VA and Ryan Mayeux of Baton Rouge, LA; great nephews and niece Cole, Mikey, and Cami Mayeux.
Tillie will be buried in DeRidder, LA where a Celebration of Life will take place when able. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tillie’s memory to Les Clefs d’Or Foundation https://marincf.givecorps.com/causes/1074-les-clefs-d’or-fund-of-the-marin-community-foundation which gives grants to their members affected by COVID-19. May we all celebrate her spirit, love of life, and cherish the memories we had together so that her light continues to shine in each of us.