Elma Joyce Thompson
1928 – 2011
Elma was the wife of the late Rev Noel Thompson, and those who knew her remember her as an equal partner with him in the many churches they touched.
Noel had flown with the RNZAF in the Pacific, then worked for NAC followed by BTI and extra-mural training from the Baptist College. They met when Noel was working with the United Maori Mission at Kaikohe in the early 1950s.
They married in 1954, had three sons and a daughter, ten grandchildren and one great-grandson.
After their marriage they took up an assistant pastor’s position in Auckland. Over 14 years they ministered at Melville, Wanganui, East Tamaki and Titahi Bay Baptist churches.
In 1970 Noel left the ministry to move to Palmerston North and care for his elderly parents. Initially he had no job, but together they bought their first home. It was a challenging time but they knew they were to honour their parents and God through it all.
They moved to Levin in 1980 and pastored the Baptist church there until 1985. Then they moved out to Waitarere Beach in semi retirement and immediately began travelling the country as interim pastors. They touched many lives in this period.
Noel, who served as Levin’s treasurer and was made its minister-emeritus, passed away in 1996 just after they moved back there. Elma stayed in the family home, became a church elder, ran a home group, and befriended and mentored many mothers in the church. Her final years were spent at a local rest home.
Elma will be remembered for her caring pastoral heart, her open home, hearty meals and home baking. She was unconventional at times. On one occasion, at a new manse and pastorate, she was found up a ladder painting the kitchen white (obliterating the manse kitchen’s pastel pink, green and yellow) when two formally dressed BWMU ladies came to the door. They were wondering when she was coming over to the church to chair their meeting.
Many will remember her wonderful singing voice when she teamed with Noel on his piano or organ. They were often a keenly anticipated part of church socials or worship services.
Elma is a wonderful example of many of our pastors’ wives. Though sorely missed, we don’t begrudge her heavenly reward.
– Ross Kerr, Levin Baptist