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NASHVILLE, TN—Mrs. Lila Thompson, a versatile member of the Welch College staff since 2004, announced plans to retire effective September 28, 2012. Mrs. Thompson worked two years in the college’s Financial Aid Office (2004-2006), then shifted to receptionist duties (2006-2010), and on to her part-time role as Business Office Associate in 2010. She developed neuropathy in her hands and feet three years ago, a diagnosis that influenced her decision to pursue early retirement.

While delivering professional service in the Business Office, Lila has also been a surrogate mother to many students, inviting them to her home for weekends and special events, and providing a welcome haven for weary students away from mom and dad.

“My most enjoyable moments at the college have been reaching out to students as needs arose in their lives,” Mrs. Thompson said. “Sometimes a home-cooked meal or a quiet talk is what a student needs to cope with homesickness or write that next term paper. These young men and women are like family to us, and we love them. I know first-hand how it feels to leave a small town and attend college in a large city.”
The Kirksville, Missouri, native enrolled at Welch College in 1965, transferred to Truman State University, and returned to Welch College where both she and her husband Ernie graduated in 1970. She worked briefly at Randall House Publications (1969-1970) as a proof reader and manuscript typist.

Lila and Ernie spent the next 32 years in Missouri raising their family (three sons—Brent, Bryan, Bryce). Lila worked 20 years as a bookkeeper at a public high school. For 15 years, the Thompsons led Child Evangelism clubs and camps, and served on the Adair County Board of Directors. Lila impacted the local church and community for 30 years as she taught a teen Sunday School class, most of that time at Hazel Creek Free Will Baptist Church (Kirksville).

Since returning to Tennessee in 2002, the Thompsons have been members of Cross Timbers Free Will Baptist Church (Nashville) where Lila served five years as secretary. She and her husband became involved in prison outreach, and Lila wrote an article about their prison ministry titled “The Razor-Wire Church” (ONE Magazine, June-July 2007).

“We’re all going to miss Lila Thompson when she retires,” said Craig Mahler, vice president for financial affairs. “She does so much more than her job. She’s efficient. She brings a smile to work every day. She reaches out to everyone with gentleness. She embodies those qualities that personify Christian character. We cannot replace her—the best we can do is find someone to succeed her.”

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