Family of John Henry Thompson
Story furnished by Clarence Crocker



John Henry Thompson, the son of John Calvin and Lou McCombs Thompson, was a native of Spartanburg County. He was first a member of the Bethesda Baptist church where he served as a Deacon for 26 years before moving his membership to the Glendale Baptist Church where he also served as a deacon and a Sunday School Teacher. He was a member of the Senior Men’s Bible Class at the time of his death. (McCombs was a cousin of this writer)

John married Mary Groce Thompson, the daughter of J. C. and Catherine Groce. They were the parents of three children, J. Calvin, Lillie Belle and Lola Thompson. John, as he was known, was a farmer and they had first lived on their farm just off the Lewis Chapel road which joined Glendale Mill’s woodlands on the Lawson Fork River before moving into the home their son had bought at the corner of Lewis Chapel and Glendale/Clifton road. 

Mary Groce Thompson died at home on December 1, 1950 at the age of 70 following a brief illness. She had lived in the Glendale community some 50 years and was a member of the Glendale Baptist Church. Her obituary in the Spartanburg Herald & Journal listed survivors as; her husband, John H. Thompson; son, J. Calvin Thompson; daughters, Mrs. L. E. (Lillie Belle) Collins and Mrs. John G. (Lola) Pettit, all of Spartanburg; one sister, Miss Lillian Groce of the home; two brothers, D. S. Groce of Cabool, Mo. and Virgil W. Groce of Yakima, Wash.; four grandchildren, Jack and Sara Pettit, Jean Thompson and Elaine Collins. Funeral services were held at the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.

John Henry Thompson died at his old home place after a brief illness on Tuesday, March 12, 1965 at the age of 85. His obituary published in the Spartanburg Herald & Journal, listed his survivors as; son, John Calvin Thompson of Spartanburg: daughters, Mrs. Lola T. Pettit of Converse, S.C. and Mrs. Lillie T. Collins of Spartanburg; four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Services were held at the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. 

Lillie Groce, the sister of Mary Groce Thompson, had for many years made her home with John, Mary, Calvin and Lillie Belle. She died September 19, 1956 at the age of 80. She was survived by one brother, Virgil W. Groce of Yakima, Washington.

John Calvin Thompson married Myrtle Lee Johnson, a native of Hancock County, Tenn., the daughter of John and Eliza Neely Johnson who had moved to Clifton, S.C. “Calvin” as he was known had a new house built just a short distance above the family home where they made their home. He also had 3 or 4 rental houses built on the farm. Both were members of the Glendale Baptist Church and became the parents of one daughter, Jean who married Robert C. Fitchett from Horry County, S.C. and they were the parents of three children, Robert Jr., James and Denise Fitchett. They too, were members of the Glendale Baptist Church.

John Calvin Thompson died Wednesday, April 15, 1970, at his home on the Glendale/Clifton Road, following a brief illness. He was 67 years of age and had retired from the Maxwell Bros. Furniture Company after 35 years as a salesman. He was a former member of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce and the Glendale Ruritan Club. His survivors were listed as; his wife, Mrs. Myrtle Thompson; his daughter, Mrs. Jean Fitchett; his two sisters, Mrs. Lillie T. Collins, Mrs. Lola T. Pettit and three grandchildren. Funeral services were held in the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.

Myrtle Thompson died Friday, November 29, 1996 at her home on Washington Road at the age of 86. She was a member of the Fidelis Sunday School Class and the W. M. U. in the Glendale Baptist Church where she had also served as a teacher and leader in the Sunday School and Church Training and was a member of the Church Choir. Her obituary listed survivors as; daughter, Mrs. Jean Thompson Fitchett and husband Robert C.; two sisters, Bertha Seals Wilson of Clifton and Kitty Hatchette Sanders of Spartanburg; three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Funeral services were held at the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens alongside of her late husband.

Lillie Belle Thompson married Landrum E. Collins, the son of Ophus Henry and Mary Elizabeth Johnson Collins of Moore, S.C. and they were the parents of one daughter, Elaine. Elaine married Robert Gilmore of Spartanburg and they were the parents of one son. Todd. They were all members of the Glendale Baptist Church. Lillie Belle and “L. E.” as he was known, had built them a home just below the family home, on the Glendale/Clifton road where they were living at the time of Lillie Belle’s death. 

Lillie Belle retired from the Pierce Motor Company of Spartanburg after 31 years as secretary and bookkeeper. She taught the Fidelis Sunday School class at her Church for a number of years. Lillie Belle T. Collins died on Friday, April 12, 1991 in the Mary Black Hospital. She was survived by: husband, L. E. Collins; her daughter Elaine Gilmore and her husband, Y.R. Gilmore Jr. and one grandchild, Todd Gilmore. Graveside services were held in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens with interment following. 

L. E. had worked at Pierce Motor Co. and Harris Motor company before operating his own business under the name of “Collins Motor Co.“ in Spartanburg. He was a veteran of WW2. L. E. Collins died Thursday, March 14, 2002 at his home at the age of 91. He was remarried to Willie Welchel Collins and was survived by; his wife; his daughter, Elaine Gilmore and her husband, Y. R. Gilmore Jr.; his grandson, Todd Gilmore and wife, Tina; three stepsons and six step-grandchildren. Graveside services were held at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens with interment following

Lola Thompson married John G. Pettit Sr., a native of Spartanburg County, the son of John J. and Alice Purgason Pettit. They lived for some time on a farm in the Thompson Chapel area of Spartanburg County before moving into their home on Main Street in Cowpens, S.C. They were members of the First Baptist Church in Cowpens. They were the parents of one son, John (Jack) Pettit, Jr. and one daughter, Sara Pettit.

Lola worked at the Glendale Post office as a clerk for a short while before being appointed Acting Postmaster on August 8, 1945. John G. worked as bookkeeper in the D. E. Converse Mill Stores for many years before joining Dan River from which he retired. He was a former farmer, school teacher, veteran of WW2, member of the WOW, member of the American Legion and a Mason. 

John G. Pettit died Friday, December 24, 1982. Survivors were listed as; his wife, his son, John G. Pettit Jr. of Cowpens and his daughter, Sara Pettit McDonald of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Services were held in the First Baptist Church, Cowpens, with interment following in the Morgan Memorial Gardens.

Lola T. Pettit died at the age of 83, February 1. 1991. Funeral services were held in the First Baptist Church, Cowpens, with interment following in the Morgan Memorial Gardens alongside of her husband. Survivors were; son, John G. Pettit Jr. and daughter, Sara Pettit McDonald; six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

This writer was honored to have part in the funeral services of John Henry, J. Calvin and Myrtle Thompson, Lillie Belle and L. E. Collins.

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