RIVERSIDE—Cathy Thompson, the longest tenured Catholic school principal in the Diocese, was called to eternal rest on September 25. She died of complications from cancer.
Thompson began at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Riverside as the kindergarten teacher in 1981. Nine years later she became principal and the face of leadership in the school for two-and-a-half decades.
Thompson especially embodied one of the four core values of the Diocese, said Patricia Vesely, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese.
“If you wanted hospitality you went to Cathy,” Vesely, recalling that St. Thomas always supplies the hand-made placemats for the Bishop’s Golf Classic fundraiser.
When Queen of Angels School, where Vesely was then serving as principal, closed in 2005, Thompson organized a dinner for the entire school staff to show her solidarity. “She just took care of people,” Vesely said.
Thompson persevered bravely during the 2015-16 school year as her health declined. In January she received the Vision of Hope Award at the Catholic Schools Awards Banquet.
“You have demonstrated such courage in the face of your medical diagnosis and treatment that you have truly given each of your colleagues, and all others who work with you, true hope in the human spirit and, more importantly, in the power of prayer,” Vesely said at the dinner. “Your dedication to your family, to your school, and to your ministry serves as an inspiration to all of us and we want to celebrate you.”