Sunnie Rae Stillman Thompson, 87, died October 12, 2020, at her beloved home in Richfield, Utah, surrounded by her children and family. Her "forever sweetheart", Jay Thompson, welcomed her home.
Sunnie was born December 2, 1932, to Cy and Jewel Stillman in Salina, Utah. One of the most memorable events of her early life is when she fell off a horse. The reason this is known, is each time one of her children told of a skinned knee or the latest mishap they’d suffered, she’d recite her horse story. She also learned spider webs worked better than band-aids when it came to stopping anything that bled.
Sunnie had an idyllic childhood. Summers were spent at Fish Lake in the family cabins with her mother and dad, little sister Judy and cousins Burke and Sally. Her grandmother Elise played an important role in her love of education and her country. These two "loves" influenced her entire life story.
Sunnie graduated valedictorian from Richfield High School in 1951. During her senior year she and a fellow classmate wrote the lyrics for the Richfield High School song and school hymn, which are still sung today. Sunnie was a creative genius and natural born leader, putting her talents to work in student government and excelling at anything that required her creativity.
Sunnie met Lorin Jay Thompson who was spending the summer in Richfield in 1951. They fell in love and married in the Manti Temple on February 1, 1952. They spent their first two years living in Anchorage, Alaska, while Jay served in the Korean War. Jay and Sunnie had 11 children. One of the most valuable lessons she taught all of them was the importance of baking everything from scratch and using only real butter in recipes. Over the years, visits to her home weren’t complete without a breakfast of her fluffy Beth-Coleman pancakes with warm butter syrup or a slice of her homemade bread.
Sunnie’s life was devoted to sharing her love of freedom with others. She will be known as a patriot who believed in the importance of the Constitution and lived true to those beliefs her entire life. She worked tirelessly in this cause and because of her great example, she raised strong and independent children. She started a home school for local children in need even before home school was a common practice.
Sunnie was inspired to write "A Field of Stars", and with the help of others an original musical was created. It has been performed for 30 years in Richfield during the Fourth of July. She was given the National Freedom Foundation Award of Valley Forge in 2018 for her lifetime of service as a patriot. Sunnie wrote a community multi-faith musical production on the life of Christ, named the "Easter Convenio". Her love and warmth for others brought people of all faiths and backgrounds together as she was a true disciple of Christ. She was also known to open her home to strangers who became family, like Jay Molock and many others who stayed and lived for a while. Billy, Adolph, Martha, and Tsosie, all called her "Mom."
Sunnie was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served in many callings and her favorite was teaching at the Richfield City Jail. She magnified every calling she was ever given and those who were blessed to know her will feel her influence forever.
Sunnie loved to play Othello and made sure she was usually the victor. Her valentine boxes were something to behold. Halloween costumes were hand-made and elaborate. Christmas would not be the same without receiving Sunnie’s coffee cakes and butter cookies. As Tanner, one of her grandsons said, "She was a Norman Rockwell mother of 11 children, a self-taught academic, she was the salt of the earth, and she was Americana." Her children know her as a writer, a poet, a lyricist, and a mother who read to them when they were young. Sunnie was the Total Citizen.
Sunnie’s large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are her legacy. She leaves behind her ten children and their spouses, 45 grandchildren and 64 great- grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Lorin Jay Thompson; her daughter, Tina Mae; her parents; sister Judy; two grandsons and two great-grandsons.
Funeral services will be held Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the Magleby Mortuary Chapel, where friends may call from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Burial will be in the Richfield City Cemetery. Live streaming of the services and online guestbook can be found at www.maglebymortuary.com under Sunnie’s obituary. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti.
The family would like to thank Sunnie’s dear friends who have cared for and loved her so faithfully over the years. A special thank you to Tammy for the many years she devoted to mother’s care.
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