Thompson steps down from Council after eight years

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A pillar of the Greenville community is stepping down.

Dr. Jean Thompson will not be seeking to reprise her role as councilmember of District 1 in Greenville’s upcoming municipal election.

Although Thompson has presided over District 1 for eight years, she has served her community for far longer.

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Dr. Jim Krudop, director of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College’s Greenville campus, has worked closely with Thompson throughout her 18-year history with the college, and cited her tremendous leadership skills that led to the growth and development of the campus.

“She was instrumental in building our programs and facilities at the college,” Krudop said.

Thompson also adopted a dual enrollment program for LBW’s Greenville campus, in which high school students could receive college credit.

“We had a working relationship with the Butler County system, and we would teach courses in the high school,” Krudop said.

“She really pushed hard for allowing children interested in pursuing higher education to have an opportunity to do so.”

Thompson’s passion for education eventually earned her recognition as one of the outstanding administrators in the nation through her work with LBW’s branch of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“If you want to get something done, you ask Jean,” Krudop said.

“Not only will it be done, but it will be done perfectly.”

Tommy Ryan, councilmember for District 3, began his work with the Council at the same time as Thompson back in 2004, and he reflected on her service to the city beyond the walls of the Greenville City Hall.

“She has been a really strong promoter of the Greenville Arts Council in particular,” Ryan said.

“She is also an advocate for keeping the Ritz in good shape and providing the means to do that.”

Thompson has served in many other professional associations over the course of her career, including the L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society.

Mayor Dexter McLendon was also saddened by news of Thompson’s retirement, stating that she is one of the nicest people he has ever met.

“She has a great heart for the city, she loves the town and she loves LBW,” McLendon said.

“She’s been a real asset to the city council and me during the last eight years, but the crown that she wears is what she has done for so many young people that are starting their college career.  I have a lot of respect for the fact that she did it for the right reason—because she cares.”

Though the decision to retire was not an easy one, Thompson said that she is very satisfied with her career, and she felt that there was a need for a younger person to take her place with new ideas.

She has, however, made the most of her retirement so far.

“I’ve gotten to do some things I couldn’t do before, like traveling,” Thompson said.

“I’ve got two granddaughters and they’re both in college, so I’m doing a lot of things with them as well.”

But perhaps the ultimate retirement perk is a beach house in Sea Grove, Fla. with her name on it.

After 50+ years of service to her community, few could argue that she has earned it.