Mary Merren Thompson remembered

Nov 20, 2020 | George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands | Cayman Compass |

Funeral services for Caymanian entrepreneur, author, and active community member Mary Merren Thompson will be held Sunday.

Mrs. Thomspon, 88, died at her home on 10 Nov., six days shy of her 89th birthday.

Along with her late husband Norberg K. Thompson, OBE, and other family members, she owned the Wyndham Resort in East End, the Grand Pavilion building on West Bay Road, the Century 21 real estate agency, and the Waterfront Centre in George Town.

The Thompsons started the Wholesome Bakery on the George Town waterfront in 1954. Among the popular items baked there were patties, which, according to a Compass article in 2011, the bakery introduced to customers on a much bigger retail scale.

Mrs. Thompson was involved in management and accounting, not in preparing the bakery goods, which in that era was overseen by men, her son Kel Thompson said. “She was a good cook, but I don’t think she could bake,” he fondly recalled.

“My husband started making patties in the 1960s. The Jamaican baker who he had employed to make breads suggested we make beef patties, which took off like hotcakes,” Mrs. Thompson is quoted as saying in the 2011 article.

“Wholesome Bakery held the reputation as the tastiest patties on island,” she said at the time. “A patty and a Wholesome Bakery milkshake was the best meal on island for locals and tourists in those days.”

The bakery closed in 2000, but Mrs. Thompson continued to be active not only in business, but also in other pursuits.

She was the author of two books – ‘Cayman Islands the Place of My Birth (2000) and ‘Happy All My Life: A Cayman Heritage’ (with Dorothy Minchin-Comm, 2002) – and she was an inveterate writer of letters to the editor, which frequently appeared in the Compass.

“Like most people, she believed her opinion was important and that it needed to be widely disseminated,” Kel Thompson said.

Over the years, Mrs. Thompson voiced her opinion on many community issues, including over a dispute about a proposal for part of the Waterfront Centre. In 2016, Mrs. Thompson wrote to the Compass to defend the development.

“My mother was a perfectionist,” Kel Thompson said. “If you took the word ‘disorder’ out of obsessive compulsive disorder, that was her. She was exceedingly well-organised, neat, and tidy.

“She very much believed in being proper in every way – good manners, respecting everyone, never presenting oneself in a disheveled or loud manner.”

Mrs. Thompson was also very active in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which she began attending at age 14, her son said.

“She taught lessons for 60 years, mostly to children,” Kel Thompson said. “She loved children – any child; the smaller the better.”

In addition to Kel Thompson, Mrs. Thompson is survived by son Gene Thompson; her sister and brother-in-law Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Thompson and Robert ‘Bob’ Osmond Thompson (Kel Thompson noted that the sisters each married a Thompson, thought to be distant relatives); two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

A viewing is scheduled for 1pm Sunday, 22 Nov., followed by a funeral service at 2pm at George Town Seventh-day Adventist Church on Smith Road. The service will be live-streamed on the George Town Seventh-day Adventist Facebook page.

Interment will be at the Merren Family Cemetery.

This article was originally published on the Cayman Compass website by Judith Isacoff | The picture on the Cayman Islands Conference website is by the Cayman Islands Conference, which does not appear in the original article.

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