Florence Leal Thompson
Florence Leal Thompson, 89, died at home in Folsom, CA, on February 25, 2022. She was born in Melville, Montana—a town at that time with a population of 15—to Robert and Alice Mahoney. She graduated from high school in Alameda, CA.
Leal loved adventure, travel, and sports. She played racquetball, softball, volleyball and, in her mid-80s, pickleball, competing with players in their sixties. She belonged to a volleyball league, and was a certified SCUBA diver, diving with family in Lanai, HI, and with Paul Thompson, her husband of 69 years, in Cozumel, MX, and Long Island, Bahamas. She loved Hershey’s Kisses, the music of Tom Jones, and camping in Hope Valley and coastal California. Reading was a favorite pastime, as was crocheting, which she taught to students in El Dorado Hills. She was a co-founder of Mad Hatters, volunteers who knitted hats and blankets for newborns, as well as chemotherapy caps for cancer patients, blankets for maternity homes, and caps and slippers for children in need. The organization eventually grew to a membership of 600, with chapters in California, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin, and Hawaii. Within eight years, Leal and her cohorts had knitted, donated, and delivered 150,000 hats. Leal once commented: “We knit hats with joy and give them with love,” a statement that defines her heart, commitment, and generosity.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Alice Mahoney; sister, Helen Getto; and son Steve Thompson. She is survived by her husband, Paul Thompson; daughter, Pamela (Robert) Banks; son, Bruce Thompson; granddaughters Jena Meredith, Maya Kepner, Megan Lydon, and Allie Price; and by great grandchildren Kai Meredith, Dillon and Kody Kepner, and Brooklyn and Hazel Lydon.
Leal was a glowing light in the life of her family and will be deeply missed. A celebration of life is planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to your favorite charity.