Colleen Kelly Thompson

February 6, 1940 ~ August 6, 2020


Aug. 11, 2020
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Directions to Viewing
  • Service:

    Aug. 12, 2020
    10:00 AM
    1150 East Yale Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
  • Directions to Service
  • How can one adequately sum up the life of a legend? Colleen Kelly Thompson was an ideal wife and mother; our fearless leader; the family’s travel guide; an advocate for family, women, community and country; a loyal friend; a disciple of Christ and so much more.

    On August 6, 2020, this unique daughter of God succumbed to the effects of a relentless brain tumor after an 18-month struggle. She was patient, courageous and long-suffering. Her strongest complaint was, “I wasn’t expecting this.” This diagnosis was a surprise to her family also since she had a lifelong habit of good nutrition and exercise.

    Colleen was born in Salt Lake City on February 6, 1940. Her beloved parents were Lincoln Spry and Marcell Foulger Kelly. As a child, she called herself “Nini,” which became a treasured nickname by which her grandchildren and many others called her later in life. She attended Ensign Elementary, Bryant Junior High and East High School, holding numerous student body offices. While at the University of Utah, she served as the Junior Class Vice President and as President of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She graduated from the University of Utah in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech correction and received her teaching certificate the following year. After college, she completed her Masters of Arts degree at Columbia Teachers College in New York City in deaf education in 1964.

    While in New York City, Colleen dated her good friend, Roger Thompson, who was then attending Yale University. They had many dates either in New York or in New Haven, Connecticut. One spring day during a handsome cab ride in Central Park, Roger proposed marriage and Colleen accepted. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on July 31, 1964. They recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Colleen worked at the Salt Lake Branch of the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind during the first years of their marriage while Roger attended law school. She also taught LDS Seminary for the deaf for many years.

    Colleen cared deeply for people of all walks of life. It wasn’t unusual for her to invite anyone needing extra care and love into her home. Colleen and Roger also welcomed two Native American students, Ellie Black and Janice Caboni, into the family. While in Ghana, West Africa, serving as a missionary for her church, Colleen volunteered weekly in an orphanage and would often cry on her way home because of conditions there. She and Roger helped fund a private school in Ghana and provided a path to education for many of those orphans. Her civic and charitable activities also included: President of Uintah Elementary School’s PTA; President of East High School’s PTSA; Board Member, Brighton Girls Camp; Board Member, West Ridge Academy (formerly Utah Boys’ Ranch); Member, Advisory Board of the Belle Spafford Endowed Chair at the University of Utah’s College of Social Work; and, Member, University of Utah School of Music Advisory Board. She and Roger were awarded the Camerata Award from the School of Music which was celebrated in her backyard just days prior to her passing. She also received a James E. West Fellowship Award and the District Award of Merit from the Boy Scouts of America.

    Family was paramount to Colleen. She made sure that her family saw the world, knew their ancestors, appreciated the arts and loved each other. She wanted a large family since she spent seven lonely years as an only child before the arrival of her beloved younger sister, Karren. She and Roger hosted monthly family gatherings in their home where Colleen provided nourishing food and equally nourishing ethics and gospel discussions.
    She is survived by her husband, Roger, seven children: Eric (Michele); Kelly (Todd Eggertsen); Jennifer (John Corbett); Laurel (Erik Fetzer); Camille (Nathan Johnson); Joel (Kadi); Connor (Michal); and thirty wonderful grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Karren Hammer (Doug), her sister-in-law, Margery Pierson, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews whom she adored.
    Colleen believed that travel and vacations helped expand the mind and create precious memories. She expertly planned adventures to Palm Springs and Balboa, California; Baja, Mexico; Utah National Parks; Coeur d’Alene and Sun Valley, Idaho; and European family history sites, among others. She encouraged all of her children and grandchildren to pursue their education to the fullest. She was always learning something new.
    Colleen was a natural athlete. Her favorite sport was tennis, but she also enjoyed golf, swimming and diving. She and Roger seemed to always win the family’s annual Thompson Triathlon, but some family members claim the event was rigged to their parents’ advantage. Some of her fondest memories were with her tennis and walking buddies. Roger and Colleen loved to dance and taught ballroom dancing to their family and to many in Africa and Spain. She also loved working out to the music of Donna Summer.

    In Primary at a young age, Colleen gained an unwavering faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. She continued attending Church services on her own from age seven through age nineteen, when she finally received permission from her father to be baptized. She stood for truth and was never ashamed to bear witness of her faith in the restored Gospel. With Roger, she served three missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Ghana, West Africa; Barcelona, Spain (on the island of Mallorca), and in Mexico in the Tijuana Temple. She served as Relief Society President, Young Women’s President and in the Stake Primary. At age 75, she was called to be an advisor to the Young Women in the ward and loved teaching them and participating in their activities. She served faithfully with Roger as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple on Friday evenings for many years and loved her fellow workers there.

    Her love, her outgoing nature, her ability to acquire and keep friends and her lack of guile will be greatly missed especially by her family.

    Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 10:00 o’clock a.m. on the grounds of the Garden Park Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1150 East Yale Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105.) Camp chairs and blankets are encouraged for the outdoor service.

    A viewing will be held Tuesday, August 11, 2020, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary (2350 East 1300 South).

    Due to concerns about Covid-19, the family respectfully requests that anyone who chooses to attend wear a mask and practice social distancing. The funeral will be recorded and a link provided to those who wish to watch at a later date. Requests to the link should be sent to

    We would like to thank Colleen’s caregivers during her prolonged illness. These include: Dr. Jensen, Dr. Colman and Sean Strope, PA-C at the Huntsman Cancer Institute; Symbii Home Health and Hospice, especially Aman Barham, RN and Deysi Vasquez, CNA; and her beloved friends, Analisa Aho, Maioha Kingi, Latai Nonu, Mele Taunauta and Antoinette Van Horn. Colleen’s sister, Karren, has rendered extraordinary service to Colleen. The entire family is grateful for the privilege of participating in Colleen’s care and for the blessing of serving her. The family would also like to thank her many friends, relatives, neighbors and fellow church members who visited her and sent her flowers, gifts and cards during her hospital stay and illness.

    In lieu of flowers, you may contribute to The McCarthy Hill School in Ghana, c/o Roger H. Thompson, 428 E. Winchester #100, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107.


    Dear Roger, our hearts are heavy with the passing of Colleen. She was such a great friend and sister at the Temple. We pray each night for you and your family . May the Lord bless you all with His love and comforter to see you through this trying time. We loved serving with the two of you for so many years in the Temple, and will cherish all the wonderful memories we have, especially the ones of you and your dear Colleen. With our deep sorrow and love, Merrill and Sheri Thompson

    - Merrill Thompson Sheri Thompson
    Dear Roger, our hearts are heavy with the passing of Colleen. She was such a great friend and sister at the Temple. We pray each night for you and your family . May the Lord bless you all with His love and comforter to see you through this trying time. We loved serving with the two of you for so many years in the Temple, and will cherish all the wonderful memories we have, especially the ones of you and your dear Colleen. With our deep sorrow and love, Merrill and Sheri Thompson

    - Merrill Thompson Sheri Thompson
    Dear Roger, Karren and Thompson children: Royal and I were out of town at the time of Colleen's passing. So sad to watch her decline even from afar. I inherited my love for the Kellys from my parents - so blessed with that close association that has seemed to bind us through the years. Royal and I on our drive home recounted memories with Colleen. Here are a few: She was cheerful, fun, devoted and committed to so many good things. The photo with her obituary is choice!! Says so much. I will always remember and love the Christmas card with Roger and Co on the steps with many screaming, crying grandchildren. Real life !! We recalled our lunch together at the Yale cafeteria - many years ago - I think Colleen introduced and delighted me with their lentil soup When Royal was being scrutinized by the Senate for his judge appointment he was, as are many, nervous about Sen. Buttars. Knowing Colleen had associated with Buttars with his home for troubled youth, Royal called Colleen to put in a good word for him. At the confirmation Buttars said something to the affect: "I got a call from that cheerful Colleen Thompson who said you walk on water - that will do for me." Whew!! Always fun to be with Colleen on the tennis court - such a beautfiul forehand :) Years ago Colleen told me she had dated Roger back East and when she had this huge school project he jumped in to help her and she thought "this is the man I want by my side". The last time I saw Roger and Colleen was at John Pingree's viewing. First time I saw her pushed along by Roger in a wheelchair with tilted head. As I bent to address Colleen I said, "It's Laura" she promptly and strongly said "I know who you are!" Oh what must have been going through her beautiful mind and spirit all the months she struggled with her body - Oh we loved her and thank you for being by her side!! Also - a note when we told young Royal of her passing he expressed his condolence and stated how Laurel and Jenni were two of the really nice girls he knew.

    - Royal and Laura Hansen
    Dear Roger, We share in the sorrow that you are experiencing. Colleen always took time to help and inspire others. We are happy to have known someone so kind and carrying. The future will be challenging for the immediate family and our prayers are with you at this very difficult time. May your family feel so inspired by her legacy to continue on with courage, strength and good health. Love Joyce and Tom.

    - Joyce & Tom Hagerman
    I will always think of Colleen as one of the most remarkable women I have ever known. She taught me some of the most wonderful lessons just by being with her. My thoughts and prayers are with all of her family. Thank you all for your many kindnesses to our family.

    - Katie Hill
    Dear Roger: Liz and I want to join your many friends in expressing our appreciation the friendship we have had with you and Colleen over many years. We marvel at how many lives Colleen touched for good including ours. We will miss seeing her at Music board meetings, Friendship Circle and other venues where our common interests and concerns have brought us together over the years. You and Colleen have served in so many ways in the community and church. We think she is about as well prepared to continue her journey toward eternal live as most anyone we have known. We are grateful that she has been freed of her physical body which no longer could support the life of her spirit. Our hearts go out to you and your posterity in the loss of Colleen/s loving companionship for a season. We share your faith in the immortality of the human spirit and eventual reunion of loved ones in the life to come. Fondly: John and Liz

    - John and Liz Bennion
    Colleen's funeral as a sunrise service at the Garden Park Ward was so beautiful. We loved the messages from the children and the fun memorable experiences they shared along with the songs they sang. What a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing Colleen's life with us today. We will always remember her smile of love and friendship. This day our love and appreciation for her life grew even greater. We have many experiences and dates in common with Roger and Colleen and that along with the spiritual experiences at the Temple make us feel so close to them. May God bless all of your sweet family with peace and remembrance of their lovely sweet mother and wife. Our love, Grant and Marilyn Barton

    - Grant & Marilyn Barton
    Dear Rodger and Family, We read of dear Colleen's passing with aches in our hears for you and yours! We would like to send our condolences and let you know just how much we love the two of you and how much we appreciate all your kindness you have shown to us. You two are so remarkable!! It' great to be able to call you friends. I (Jewel) remember still my mother, Adelia's delight at having your family say they would come and give her a special musical evening in her home from your children as she got older, (close to 100) . What a treat that was for her! Thanks for being such good neighbors and friends tio Paul and I. Rodger it has been nice to have been treated with your confidence. What respect I have for you. Lots of love from the two of us. Paul and Jewel.

    - Paul and Jewel Lefevor
    Dearest Roger and family! We are so saddened at the loss of sweet Colleen. I have loved her since I met her when I was 15 years old which was a long long time ago. What a ball of energy, love, compassion, and intellect. I have always admired her so much and wish I could have been there for her celebration today. We just returned into town after having a retreat in the mountains after my daughters wedding last week. PleasePlease give my love to everyone for she has such a grand posterity, and to you Roger who we love so much! Our prayers and love to you all, with the great assurance of knowing that we will all see Colleen again! XOXO Wendy and Steve Sorensen

    - Wendy &Steve Sorensen
    Colleen was a little powerhouse of a woman. We enjoyed the Thompson family over the years and the ward gatherings at the Thompson home in Morgan. Colleen will be missed and remembered. Our sincere condolences to Roger and children and grandchildren.

    - Ann & Mark Glissmeyer
    My deepest sympathies and warm condolences to you all at this time. Arteh x

    - Arteh Odjidja
    LDS hymn 293 “Each Life that Touches Ours for Good” … rings true for me and perfectly describes the effect Colleen had on me. Colleen and I met when she served a mission with her dear companion Roger in the Africa West Area, Ghana. She was a woman of faith who loved to serve. I learnt a lot from her exemplary life and I am truly saddened that I am unable to be there with her wonderful family to pay my last respects. Colleen was a great source of inspiration to me. I remember when I came to visit last November. She was cheerful and in good spirits and I was pleasantly surprised when she invited me to go to the temple with her. Walking through the temple corridors with her is a memory I will cherish forever. She will be sorely missed. Rest peacefully in the bosom of our Heavenly Father. Lydia Anno (Ghana)

    - Lydia Anno
    First, to Jenny: I am so sorry for your loss! I can tell the positive, powerful impact your mom had on you and your family. Your own smile is always genuine and seems to come from a place of having been nurtured well and supported throughout your life. I see it in her smile, too. Somehow, some friends always stay friends. Know I am one and am here for you. And Roger, I will never forget watching you and Colleen dance at the Rotary Christmas party just two and half years ago. Your faces were full of love and joy for each other and for dancing together. I am grateful to have known the kind of man you are through Rotary. I can tell your strong family and marriage had most to do with that. And I will never forget playing I Dreamed a Dream for you and Colleen at Huntsman: it made me cry, and I'm about to cry again, now. God Bless you and your family. May there somehow be everlasting peace.

    - Jenny Floor
    We are deeply and honored to have come to know The Thompsons. Colleen as we remember today is a special lady and a special friend to me Angie and I'm deeply saddened at her passing. She has been an inspiration to me. a confidant and an advisor. A mother and as I indicated a special friend. She is an all round lady and very open to all. She embraces everyone who comes into contact with her. A typical example was during my wedding in Salt Lake City. she opened her home to all my family and friends to stay without me worrying about hotel accommodation for my guests. We have had some good times together both in West Africa, Ghana as matter of fact and in the US, Morgan and Salt Lake City. Colleen will always be remembered and missed, she has left a vacuum that can never be filled. Fare thee well my friend. May your soul rest in perfect peace. We love you!!!!

    - George and Angie Adjaye (Amoako Ayimadu)
    Dear Thompson Family, I have watched your dear wife and mother and grandmother struggle with the ravages of brain cancer over the last year and more. Through it all Colleen exuded a quiet spiritual dignity as she faced this difficult challenge. And Roger, through it all, dealt with the heartache and demands like a trooper. At this time of reflection, I pray that your whole Thompson family will recognize most of all, that you have been eternally blessed by being a part of the legacy that Roger and Colleen have provided for all their posterity. Their kindness, their example of service to the myriads of people and organizations throughout many parts of the world, and to their family - along with their strength of spirit and testimony of Jesus Christ show us a path worth emulating. We pray that you will have the peace and comfort at this time of loss, As well as find joy in celebrating Nini’s life well-lived. Thanks be to God for the blessings of eternal families through temple covenants. Our prayers and best wishes are with all of you now and in the coming days and years. We love you all. Steve and Patti. King

    - Steven King
    From the Island of Mallorca (Spain) where Colleen and Roger Thompson served a mission, my husband and I want to show our gratitude and admiration for these incredible woman who was always thinking how and what to do to help to every child, young, man or woman of our small branch, to be a better person. A great example to me as a person, as a woman , as a daughter of God. I´m sure she will be in Heaven. Un abrazo muy fuerte para Roger y su familia. May the Lord bless you.

    - Rosana y Alex Larrubia
    Dearest Thompsons! How I love Colleen! I was one of those blessed to grow up with your wonderful family and under the beautiful shadow of your sweet mother. She and my mother certainly were dear friends, thoughtful women who ministered well to their families, neighbors and community. Colleen and Roger are such a power couple! Their goodness, righteousness, joy for life and love was always felt in their presence. She will be greatly missed, and is most fondly and warmly remembered. Sending Love and Blessings to each of you at this tender time. Marjorie

    - Marjorie Nelson Lowder
    What a wonderful overview of Colleen’s life. Thank you for sharing all those meaningful details of her experiences and influence. I have been so blessed to know the Thompson family. My heart is heavy with your loss of her presence on earth. Praying for your family’s peace and comfort. All my love, Susan.

    - Susan Hale
    Mil veses gracias a Dios por haberme concedido el gran honor de compartilhar dias de me vida com essa gran persona, jamás he conocido nadie tan dulce, amable, gentil, preocupada por el bien de todos, dedicada, un ser de pura luz y de puro amor, solo su simple presencia llenava en ambiente de paz, una paz que solo Dios puede proporcionar, sientome imensamente triste por que soy imperfecta y egoísta y tenía la ilusion de volver a verla algun dia, promesa esa que pienso cumplir y abrazar a mi amado hermano Roger, ese abrazo que lhe envio hoy desde España, desde Manacor donde vivimos dias bellos y inolvidables, sois una parte muy muy preciosa de me vida.... Os querrereis por toda mi vida.... Mis mas sinceros sentimientos a todos y cada uno de esa hermosa família.

    - Marcy Tavares
    What a beautiful example of Christ like love. I wish I had been able to spend more time with the Thompson family. They were always such kind warm hearted folks. Coleen was truly the head of this incredible kindness and love and I will never forget her beauty and the conversations that we did share. Love to you all.

    - Emily Poulson
    Thompson Family, I am so sorry to hear of the challenging last couple of years for your mom. She is one of the best examples of kindness and charity I have seen... even when she had to holler at me for something dumb that Joel and I might have done! =) I am grateful to see that she was able to move on to the next phase of our journey. With respect, TK

    - TK and Echo Hollberg
    Colleen was one of a kind! We simply loved her. Her amazing talents, abilities and personality live on in her posterity. All our love to Roger. She will be missed.

    - Angela Hatch McKelkar
    Colleen was always one of the great examples in my life. She was always positive, thoughtful, caring, giving. When I started my studies in psychology at the University of Utah she took a personal interest and introduced me to several people at the boys Ranch and made sure that I was able to go and toured the facility. She reached out to me in numerous ways to help promote my education. Later on, whenever I would run into her she always remembered me, specifics of my life, and took interest in the way things were going. As just another boy and a Ward full of boys, her thoughtful consideration was always appreciated. Obviously she raised a wonderful family and her children are all people I remember fondly, admire, and respect. My love and condolences to the Thompsons. While I understand this might be a sweet release, the loss is nonetheless felt keenly.

    - Benjamin Rich
    Colleen was a wonderful person and she will be truly missed. My deepest condolences.

    - Javier Mixco
    Sincere condolences to Roger and family during this difficult time. We love you and Colleen and cherish our friendship. Love, Paul and Gail Evans

    - Paul Evans
    Beautiful lady with a tender heart. So happy for our time together in Ghana and the Sweet memories we shared. Our love and prayers for Roger and his family.

    - Sharon Thompson
    It was with the deepest sadness that we learned this week of the passing of our dear friend and neighbor, Colleen Thompson. It has been so many years since we first met, when our youngest, Javier, and his classmate and good friend, Joel, were both little boys attending Uintah Elementary School. Both are now middle-aged gentlemen. Joel is now a married man, and Javier, still a bachelor, has moved to Seattle as an attorney with an intellectual property law firm. So many warm memories crowd in when we think back to those years when the Thompsons still lived a mere block away on Harvard Avenue. We remember chatting with Colleen as she often walked the family dog past our house; she and Teresa were also walking partners, sharing many interesting life experiences. We recall regularly exchanging dance dates with Colleen and Roger, when they would invite us to dances at their ward and would join us at the seasonal dinner-dances sponsored by the Latin Women’s Club, to which Teresa, Mauricio’s mother and sister belonged. While we join the Thompson family and their friends in mourning Colleen’s demise, we are also deeply grateful for the opportunity of having known her as the wonderfully thoughtful person she was, full of life and warm good humor. Teresa and Mauricio Mixco

    - Teresa and Mauricio Mixco