Jean A. Thompson, 91, of Litchfield, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, February 5, 2021.
Jean was born on May 2, 1929, the daughter of Mayford A. and Doris Hersey Morris of Richmond. She attended Richmond schools and graduated from Richmond High School. After graduation she took courses at Gorham Normal School and her first teaching position was at Longfellow School, West Gardiner. It was at the school Christmas party that she met Maxwell Eugene Thompson of West Gardiner. Jean and Gene were married on September 12, 1948 in Richmond where they made their home for three years before moving to Litchfield, first to a log cabin on the western shore of Pleasant Pond and then to their current home on Jungle Lane.
Jean was a woman of many talents and interests and pursued a wide variety of occupations throughout her life. She was a telephone operator at the State Hospital in Augusta. She was a salesperson at Herricks in Augusta and sold Avon and World Book Encylcopedia door-to-door. She coordinated and taught hunter safety courses throughout Maine for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. She formed a women’s rifle and pistol club and shot competitively. In the 1960s she started Jean’s Jungle, selling houseplants from her greenhouse. She was also a permanent substitute teacher in Wales and Litchfield for many years. After Gene retired, they were foster parents for infants waiting for adoption placement through The Home for Little Wanderers, Waterville. Then, for over twenty-five years, they cared for wounded, orphaned, and abandoned wild animals and birds at Jean’s Jungle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. This volunteer job brought her much joy and satisfaction, particularly caring for the fawns. She recorded her adventures in her book JEAN’S JUNGLE, TRUE MAINE WILD ANIMAL STORIES, published in 1998. There were numerous photographs and articles about Jean and Gene in the local newspapers and on Maine’s television stations as well as feature stories on CNN and ABC’s 20/20.
Jean was a talented artist, sewist, maker of jewelry, and she hooked rugs of her own designs. She and Gene crafted many dollhouses and she filled them with items she made. She was an excellent swimmer, hunter, and fisherman. She loved being in the woods, canoeing, bird watching, and gardening. She had musical talent as well, playing the piano and autoharp and singing in the Plains Baptist Church Choir and solos at weddings.
In January 2000 Jean suffered a massive stroke which left her in a wheelchair with little use of her right side and severely limited speech. She learned to write and draw with her left hand and worked hard to communicate her thoughts. She enjoyed watching the birds and visiting with friends.
Jean was pre-deceased by her daughter Gail Thompson Hulsey, and by her only sibling Mildred Hart Stengl.
Jean is survived by Gene, her husband of seventy-two years; her daughters Anne Thompson of Litchfield and Barbara Thompson (her husband Wayne Thompson) of Lisbon; her grandson Andrew Clemons (his wife Jamie and their sons Clark and Dean) of New Albany, Ohio; her grandson Samuel Rothman of Scarborough; and her nieces Marcia Hart Quinby of Sedgwick and Michele Dooling of Winthrop.
There will be no services at this time. Burial and a graveside service will take place in the spring at the Litchfield Plains Cemetery.