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Obituary of David L. Thompson


David Thompson was born July 14, 1962. The physician who delivered Dave took one look and immediately whisked him out of the room, not letting his mother, Roberta (Bertie), or father, Wayne, see or even hold their baby. Later the doctor returned to Roberta’s room, telling her that her son was deformed and he had made arrangement to have the baby sent to a home for “idiots” and it would be best for her never to see him and to mourn him as if he died at birth. Thankfully, Bertie emphatically told him NO and took her son home.

Bertie took diligent care of her son, Dave, and learned as much as she could about children with Down’s Syndrome and how best to help them. Already a registered nurse, she spent hours with her baby teaching him to sit up, walk, talk, express his needs, interact socially, work, write, and read – all the skills he would need to live a normal life. Bertie worked hard to ensure that other children with the same issues also had opportunities, by becoming the head of the county Mental Health/Mental Retardation office. This provided her with access to the information and services available to help not only Dave but other families whose mothers were also told that they should forget about their children.

Dave has lived a good life indeed, because of his family support. His parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers all supported him and helped him achieve many things. As he grew older, he learned to read, write, and he worked at several jobs. When he was young, his grandparents took care of him on weekends, and taught him to bowl, fish, & latch hook. After his mother’s untimely death at the age of 54, Dave’s sister Lori assumed responsibility for Dave and helped him achieve even greater heights. Moving in with Lori and her family who lived in the State College area, Dave worked at Bonanza restaurant, Bilo Food store, JCPenny, the Nittany Mall and Skills. Dave’s employers all loved his work ethic and his co-workers were very supportive. He took the bus to and from his job every day. He also started bowling with Special Olympics and weightlifting with the late Clyde Doll for both Special Olympics and regular lifting events. David was the Pennsylvania State Champion in lifting for several years, and went to the Special Olympics World Games in Massachusetts 1995, where he earned a world championship. His family was there – brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, father, stepmother, grandmother, and friends – cheering loudly for him.

Dave continued to have a healthy, wonderful, productive life until he started to get confused. He worked as long as he could, but eventually his family realized that it was time for him to “retire” from the Nittany Mall. Dave was celebrated on his last day of work. Dave kept up with his bowling team as long as he could, and still attends art classes though he can no longer participate. The gifts of art he did in the past are treasured by his family members. Alzheimer’s disease slowly robbed his mind, everyday tasks become more difficult. The love of David’s family, particularly his mother who fought for him from the day he was born, and his sister Lori and her husband Bruce, have sustained him throughout his adult life, including a great support group, including nearby family, Sunny Days Daycare and a very special person, Mike Mister, from Care for People Plus. David has lived a wonderful life. In lieu of flowers please donate to David’s Dreamers Memorial Celebrity Softball Tournament (on Facebook) or Special Olympics Centre County, PO Box 10465, State College, PA 16805.

David is survived by his step parents, John and Helen Foor, of Everett, siblings, Donald (Val) Thompson of Hopewell, Karen (Drew) Callaghan of Philadelphia, Lori (Bruce) Struble of Aaronsburg, Elizabeth (Eric) KuKanich of Virginia, Rick Thompson of Everett and Bob (Tiffany) Thompson of Johnstown; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Richard and Margaret Thompson; his maternal grandparents, Donald and Eleanor Norris; and a nephew Matthew Wigfield.

Visitation will be Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 1-3 PM at Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Services, 1034 Benner Pike, State College. A funeral service will follow at 3 PM at the funeral home with the Reverend Theresa Heiser officiating. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family.

Name of Deceased

David L. Thompson

Date of Death


Date of Birth


Funeral Home

Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Service

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