A large crowd gathered at Patten Chapel on Tuesday, March 6, to celebrate the life of Dr. Carolyn Thompson, wife and partner of Chancellor Roger Brown.
One of the attendees at the service observed, “If you didn’t know Carolyn before the service, you did by the end of it. Everyone who spoke knew the same wonderful woman.”
Music was provided by Dr. Roland Carter and the UTC Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Kevin Ford.
Since her death, friends and associates have offered their remembrances of Thompson.
Susan Elliot Rich, President of the Board, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association said Thompson epitomized “vim, vigor and vivaciousness.”
Rich called Thompson “a champion of the CSO, as she was for other non-profits. Carolyn helped move the CSO forward with her leadership and strategic vision. She was a precious person. The CSO and I were very lucky to have her as a devoted, fun friend!”
James Hobson, President and CEO, Memorial Health Care System, said during Thompson’s four-year tenure on Memorial’s Board of Directors she provided exceptional leadership, insight and knowledge during a time of transformational change in the delivery of health care in our community.
“She was pivotal in ensuring the patient was at the center of all our decisions, and deeply committed to advancing medicine to the highest quality in the Chattanooga region. We are fortunate to count Carolyn among Memorial advocates; and will deeply miss her. We are comforted knowing that she is now safely in God’s embrace and her legacy will live on for generations to come,” Hobson said.
BettyLynn Smith, Executive Director, Community Impact, said Thompson “embraced the Chattanooga community upon her arrival and showered it with her wit, intellect and civic service. Through her many valuable contributions as a board member of several organizations, she left an indelible mark on Chattanooga’s non-profit landscape. Carolyn was also a true friend—devoted, loyal and loving. She could light up a room with her presence and her sense of humor. Her joie de vivre has been a special gift to her friends—especially the Brunch Bunch.”
Ruth Holmberg, Publisher Emerita of The Chattanooga Times, called Thompson “a breath of fresh air. She spoke her mind, sometimes so forcefully that she made you catch your breath. Often she spoke what others only thought but sat in silence. She did not suffer fools gladly. Her views were cogent and right to the point. She was an ideal board member; she did her homework, paid her dues and participated in the discussion. Carolyn was funny. She made you laugh out loud. With her active mind in her energetic body, she was a welcome presence in any gathering. She had more friends even than she knew because of her magnetic personality. She was a warm and giving friend. To know her was to love her. Having known her was a gift. We weep now and will miss her always. But, Carolyn, we will remember you always and as we do, we will laugh out loud.”
Donations can be made in Dr. Carolyn Thompson’s name to any of the following:
The Mary Finnegan Rinkus Endowed Scholarship
UTC Office of Development, Dept 6806
615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Hospice of Chattanooga
4411 Oakwood Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37416
Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga
1270 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402