Margaret Mary Kennedy Thompson, 81: Army wife, consummate caregiver

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PORTLAND — Margaret Mary Kennedy Thompson, 81, of Maine and Virginia, died Sept. 22 while holding the hand of her husband of 59 years, retired Colonel Nelson “Nels” Thompson.

The daughter of Elizabeth M. (McCourt) and William S. Kennedy, she was born in Portland on Oct. 21, 1927. She attended local schools and graduated from Deering High School in 1945.

After high school, she worked as the executive secretary for the president of Northwestern Mutual in Portland.

On June, 6, 1950, she married Nels on his graduation day from West Point and were subsequently stationed in Austria. During that time, they traveled throughout Europe and welcomed their first child, Linda, born in Munich, Germany.

In 1953, they returned to the United States and were stationed in several bases throughout the country.

From 1958 to 1968, while Nels was immersed in the Pershing nuclear missile program, she managed her growing family of four children with love and dedication. She never complained of the demands placed on her due to her husband’s career.

In 1971, after her husband served a tour in Vietnam, they returned to Europe for a three-year assignment in Heidelberg, Germany, where as the wife of the senior officer, she had significant responsibilities. Despite the demands, she ensured that their time in Europe was a great cultural and educational experience for the children, and left Germany with many treasured memories.

Since retirement, she and her husband enjoyed long summers at their home “Cedar Lodge” on Sebago Lake, providing a family retreat for their children and grandchildren.

Later known as “G’ma” to family, she said her greatest joy in life was her family, and her greatest accomplishment were her children. She was the person they could always count on, the glue that held the family together. Even through years of cancer treatments, she always offered her family patience, love and support.

In addition to her immediate family, she also provided support to several elder relatives with nurturing end-of-life care, was actively involved in Officer’s Wives Clubs, local Catholic parishes and volunteered at her children’s many schools.

In her spare time, she enjoyed long walks, knitting, crocheting and baking.

She was predeceased by her daughter, Linda Thompson Plewes, in 2002, and her granddaughter, Olivia Howard, in 2009.

Survivors include her “One and Only,” her husband, Nels Thompson; three children, William Thompson of Denver, Ann Thompson Mazerolle of Falmouth and Mary Thompson Howard and her husband Todd Howard of Woodbridge, Va.; 10 grandchildren, Elizabeth Plewes McKee and her husband, Matthew McKee of Ft. Bragg, N.C., Margaret Plewes of San Francisco, Anne Plewes Kremer and her husband John Kremer of Ohio, Lauren Plewes of Carmel, Ind., Kaitlin Thompson of Denver, Allen and Rachel Mazerolle of Falmouth, Rosser, Julia and Emma Howard of Woodbridge, Va.; and two great-granddaughters, Isabelle and Fionnuala McKee.

Memorial services were held last weekend.

Arrangements are by Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

Memorial donations may be made to the Maine Affiliate – Susan G. Komen for the Cure, P.O. Box 1626, Bangor, ME 04402-1626 or online at; or to The Center for Grieving Children, P.O. Box 1438 Portland, ME 04104 or online at

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