Ella A. Thompson, 1861-1956

At the time of her death in 1956, Ella Thompson was not only one of the oldest members of the High Street Church of Christ but she was also one of its most active members.

Thompson was born in Canal Fulton, Ohio, but lived at 346 Spicer for most of her life. She became a member of the church now called the High Street Christian Church, in 1878 and started teaching a class of girls. In 1901, she was elected president of the Young Ladies Missionary Society (an organization established by Chalista Wheeler) and remained in that position for 33 years. In 1934, she was named president emeritus. Thompson’s influence on the body was so great that the Young Ladies Missionary Society voted in 1916 to change its name to the Ella Thompson Missionary Society.

Thompson was also instrumental to the success of the East Akron Community House. It was begun by the missionary associations of Akron’s Protestant churches as the city’s only settlement house. (East Akron Community House still operates in the city and offers a wide range of community services.) According the High Street Christian Church records, “she [Thompson] contributed generously of her time, talent and means to the work of the East Akron Community House with foreign born immigrants. Her devotion inspired a similar commitment on the part of the society.”

She encouraged members of the church and the women’s missionary society to read about foreign missions. In 1930, she organized a missionary library that became a part of the Valentine Memorial Library, which is still in use in the church today.

Thompson was recognized for her civic activities when the Woman’s City Club held a banquet in her honor on Sept. 16, 1926.

Thompson worked for 50 years at the American Hard Rubber Company. She retired in March 1937.

–Stephanie Devers