Rachel Erin Thompson, 37, passed away to God’s loving arms on May 10, 2019, in her Minneapolis, Minn., apartment from natural causes. The celebration service of Rachel’s life was held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Swea City, on Saturday, May 25. Interment will be at a later date at Harrison Township Cemetery, Swea City.
Rachel was born Feb. 22, 1982, to Robert and Martha (Holt) Thompson. She grew up on the family farm three miles west of Swea City. She was baptized, confirmed and remained a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Swea City. Active in the church, she loved helping with making Lefsa at the church’s annual Scandinavian Fair, starting when she was about 3 years old and through her post-college years. In high school she attended youth groups at both Immanuel Lutheran and E&R churches.
Rachel loved helping in the garden, planting flowers, helping in the kitchen and her favorite — puddle jumping in the rain. She showed a talent and love for art at an early age. That love and talent stayed with her all of her life. She loved reading and by second grade was reading the Worldbook Childcraft encyclopedias from cover to cover.
All of her school years were spent at North Kossuth Community School where she graduated as valedictorian with the Class of 2000. In high school she was a member of the National Honor Society, newspaper staff, band and chorus and received numerous music awards, including the John Phillips Sousa award her senior year. She took art throughout high school under Dan Sorenson. She received numerous art awards over the years. She was nominated and attended the National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., her senior year. She was also nominated for and attended the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music on a three-week tour of Europe.
Rachel went on to Iowa State University, Ames, and graduated with a B.A. in graphic design with post-graduate studies. Her artwork was chosen to be in several art shows at ISU. Being the very pragmatic and logical person that she was, she did not want to be just an art person. She joined the ISU Marching Band and Concert Band and fully loved it all four years. To further round out her life, Rachel became involved with martial arts under the instruction of Master Pak, where she found a full community of lifelong friends. She attained a black belt in Hapkido of which she was extremely proud, won the National Collegiate Judo Competition in her weight class her junior year, and received several awards for her work within the martial arts program.
After leaving ISU, she went to work for Walmart in St. Paul, Minn., then got a job with Children’s Cancer Research Fund as a graphic designer. Rachel thoroughly loved her job at CCRF, the people she worked with, plus the idea of working for an organization that was doing so much to help fight against children’s cancer.
Rachel was one of those rare people who could make friends and keep that friendship going for years. Her friends and family repeatedly talk about her being someone with a true light – a ray of sunshine, caring, loving, talented, smart, funny and able to make people feel good.
Surviving Rachel are her parents, Rob and Martha "Marti;" her brother, William (Ashley); niece, Alexis Escobar; and nephew, Bryce Thompson, all of Swea City. Also surviving are her aunts and uncles, Priscilla Jacobsen, Iowa City; Mary Anne and Scott de Vry, Seattle, Wash.; Rachel and George Shidler, Ankeny; Kristy Thompson Anderson, Frost, Minn.; and Jean Thompson, Indianapolis, Ind.; and several cousins.
Waiting to welcome her into their arms are her grandparents, Wayne and Marrian Thompson and Merle and Frances Holt; uncles, Jerry Thompson, Glenn Jacobsen and Peter Holt; and aunt, Dianne Holt. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.henryolsonfuneral.com.