Cover photo for Sybil Thompson's Obituary
Sybil Thompson Profile Photo

Sybil Thompson

May 8, 1938 — April 28, 2023


Sybil Thompson, born on May 8, 1938, passed away on April 24, 2023. Sybil Letetia Thompson, affectionately known as Letty, Mama, Grandma, and Auntie Letty, died at the age of 84 at home, where she succumbed to her illness, ALS.

Sybil was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents William and Veneta Thompson. She was one of nine children, of whom three sisters survived her: Louise, Edna, and Avis.

As a child, she attended public school, where she developed various skills. She particularly enjoyed Math and English, and she loved writing poems, cooking, gardening, and sewing. Her sewing skills were mostly self-taught, resulting in many fine fashion pieces. Sybil also had a passion for crafts, such as, knitting, crocheting, embroidering, drawing, and painting. She loved playing Dominoes and was difficult to beat at Scrabble. Some of her artwork will be showcased in the slide program.

Sybil had a passion for learning, especially through reading. Her favorite book was her Bible, which she read almost every day, consuming 5 to 10 chapters per day. She especially cherished her weekly family Bible study sessions with her daughter Grace, her two sisters, her niece, and some of her closest family friends. She loved her weekly congregation meetings, which she rarely missed, even if she had to listen from her bed during her illness, she would be present at the meetings.

Sybil was incredibly self-sufficient and self-sacrificing. As a single mother for most of her life, she raised five children: Willie, Angelieta (known as Faith), Hopeton (who passed away at age 19), Michael, and her youngest daughter Michelle (known as Grace). Additionally, Sybil raised numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other extended family members. If we were to name all of them, we would run out of time and be late for her burial. Some of the children and grandchildren she acquired, she didn’t actually raise in her home, but she always found a place in her heart to nurture, love and care for them. So, if your name is not mentioned in this obituary, you know who you are and you also know how much she loved and cared about you. She loved us all unconditionally. Even when she was firm and spoke her mind, which sometimes was hard to take, it was never done unkindly.

Sybil was renowned for her kindness and generosity. She did not like seeing people in need or disadvantaged and would help anyone if she could. She would give the clothes off her back to ensure no one went without. For most of you, you know if you visited her home, you would never leave hungry, thirsty or without a gift to take home. By nature, she tried to imitate her God, Jehovah, and his son, Jesus, in their spirit of giving. Sybil was so generous that if someone gave her a gift, she would always try to share it with someone else, so they didn’t have to be less fortunate; it was her way of saying “I love you, you are my family”. Her sons Willie and Michael would always joke that she was the queen of re-gifting.

Our fondest memories of her were at her first home in the country, which she acquired with the help of her son Willie. It is where she will be laid to rest alongside her son Hopeton and other family members until Jehovah, through his son Jesus, calls them back to life on Earth. Many of us cherish wonderful moments and memories from that home, where we experienced the joys of growing up as children. Friends and family gathered there during summer vacations and on the weekends. They would go swimming at the river and exploring the bushes for fruits and other goodies. As long as our chores were done, we were free to explore all day, returning home to a hot meal she had prepared. Sometimes we wondered where the food came from, but Sybil's resourcefulness and creativity allowed her to transform simple garden ingredients and smoked meat hanging in the kitchen into a banquet.

Sybil always aspired to become a nurse, and she completed a Home Health Aide Training program when she first moved to New York City. She would not hesitate to help when it was needed or whenever someone mentioned feeling unwell or had a sick family member at home, she eagerly moved in to help care for them.

In her last place of residence in New Jersey, she would help many of her neighbors not only to learn about Jehovah, but also in other practical ways. For example, there was an elderly lady named Jean who lived in her building.  Sybil was like her unpaid personal nurse. The lady gave her a key to her apartment to let herself in anytime, so sometimes late at night, she would call Sybil to come and give her a back scratch or just make her a cup of coffee, or to keep her company, and Sybil was always willing and ready to help.

Just to show how resourceful she was, at one time there was flooding in New Jersey, and there was no power in the building for days. Sybil used candles to boil water and make tea or coffee for some of her neighbors, and she showed them how to use garbage bags to line their beds to keep themselves warm.

In 1993, she migrated from Jamaica to the United States to live with her son Michael and his family. Because of her love for family and friends, she would share her time with other family members. At one time, she spent a significant amount of time with her niece Christine and her husband Winston, so she had to share a room with her grandniece Nicky. Nicky had the room painted in a dark color which she loved, but Sybil hated it. So, to Nicky's horror, she returned home one day to find her room painted in a fashionable peach color, no longer black. Like we said, if she didn't like something, she would make it known. Nevertheless, they remained friends.

Sybil became one of Jehovah's Witnesses on April 10, 1999, when she was baptized at the Stanley Theater in New Jersey.  She didn't really have a particular religion. But all her life, she loved God, read the Bible, and even made her children read the Bible at night. (She even named her children, Faith, Hope(ton) and Grace) But she didn't understand God's purpose for humans. Why do we suffer and die? Was the earth going to be destroyed or not? Where are the dead, are they in heaven or in hell? Is there a place called hell? Does God have a name, is he Jesus? All these questions and more bothered her. So, when her two daughters in Canada became Jehovah's Witnesses, they extended an invitation to her to find the answers to her many questions. By studying the Bible with one of Jehovah's Witnesses for herself, she found the answers to her many questions. In due time, she became dedicated and got baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. She regularly shared what she learned with others about Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ, and about the kingdom that will rule over the Earth, where the dead will come back to life to live and enjoy paradise on Earth, a hope she also firmly believed for herself.

One of the many things we will always remember about Sybil is her love for travel. She loved to explore new places. No one knew the train system better than her in New York City. We often jokingly say about her: "She loved the road." If a bus went there, she'd take it. If a train went there, she'd jump on it. If there was just a small space in a car, no matter how small, she would take that spot without complaints; but she would always bring food and snacks for everyone.

Her traveling spirit took her from Jamaica to the United States, and then to Canada. One of her most memorable trips was a cruise she took with her son Willie and some of her favorite family members and friends. That was such a highlight for her. After that trip, she was bitten by the travel bug and wanted to travel some more; but then COVID-19 came. Unexpectedly, she started showing signs of an illness that was not easily diagnosed. Her children recommended that she moved to Canada where she could be cared for by her daughters. She was very resistant to the idea because she enjoyed the freedom of living on her own. Thanks to Jehovah she moved at the time she did because her illness was getting progressively worse by the day. Finally, after many tests and visits to the doctor, she was properly diagnosed with ALS and dementia in June 2022, which was a devastating blow for her family and friends. Sybil's condition deteriorated rapidly, and she passed away peacefully at home on April 24, 2023.

Sybil was so loved that during her illness, her phone never stopped ringing. Her friends, children, grandchildren, sisters, nieces, nephews, spiritual brothers and sisters, and neighbors would all visit her. Regularly, she received flowers, food, cards, and different ones would come to spend time with her, sit with her, and feed her. She truly enjoyed her visitors because she loved people so much.

Sybil is now asleep, resting from her illness. If she could, she would tell us that her sleep is only temporary, and that she will see us all in the Resurrection when Jesus calls her from the grave to be young again, with perfect health. She would want us to know that the opportunity is there for all of us to meet again. "See you in paradise."

Job 14:14 “If a man dies, can he live again?  …  15 You will call, and I will answer you. You will long for the work of your hands.”

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