Obituary of Tana Neff Thompson
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Tana Neff Thompson May 28, 1947 – July 1, 2023 Tana Neff Thompson was born in Dayton, OH on May 28, 1947, and passed away peacefully at her home July 1, 2023. Her life was one lived largely, and her world travels and academic accomplishments are to be envied. As an only child, Tana gained her first glimpse into independence by operating a vending machine at the Motel her parents owned in Fort Myers, FL, putting her early years’ earnings into savings. Her constant and unusual companion was a Capuchin Monkey named Chippy who lived with the family. Tana attended the University of West Florida attaining her Bachelor of Science in Systems Science. She continued her studies receiving a Master of Business Administration while simultaneously working as an Assistant Professor at the University of West Florida. She then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems (MIS) at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. It is here she met the love and joy of her life, Ken Thompson. Ken served as her dissertation advisor, and during this time they published several articles, going on to create an incredible life and legacy together. Ken and Tana married on June 21, 1986, in Silver Spring, MD in the same church where his parents were married exactly 50 years prior. Tana and Ken moved to Huntsville, AL, where Tana taught IT/Computer courses at the University of Alabama in Huntsville while finalising her dissertation studies for her Ph.D. She and Ken relocated to Brooksville, FL, living on 40 acres named Rocking T Ranch which included two buffalo, a pot-bellied pig, a herd of cattle, and a fully stocked fishpond with ducks. This colorful life allowed them to fulfill their love for animals, namely dogs, who unintentionally turned them into incidental dog breeders. While Ken managed several hospital systems in the region, he and Tana became heavily involved in the local community, seeing Ken as Santa and Tana as Mrs. Claus for the hospital’s Christmas celebrations. They were never short of love and laughter, and many memories were made during their time at the ranch. After their time at the ranch, they moved to their final home, a lake house in Talladega, AL. Here they would raise and love numerous four-footed children both feline and canine (all leaving an indelible mark in their hearts), take pontoon rides to watch the leaves change in autumn or grab a meal somewhere lakeside, as well as enjoy lazy sunset cruises, and immerse themselves in everything the area had to offer. It was during this time, Tana was an Associate Professor at Talladega College and then later joined Ken at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) as its MIS Coordinator, training employees on a variety of computer skills. Here she and Ken attended football games, Institute events, gave tours of the campus and Industry where military clothing and flags were carefully crafted by the vision impaired. One of their greatest joys came from walking their dogs, Rambeau and Muttley, through the halls of AIDB and a nearby nursing home, observing the way God’s creatures brought unparalleled joy to all they visited (and licked). Once Tana joined Ken in his ‘semi-retirement’, they spent three exciting years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), working side-by-side in Al Ain at UAE University, where she was instrumental in building and installing an HR and payroll system from scratch. Living in the UAE afforded them the opportunity to fulfill their bucket list of travel locations around the world. Their last trip together, to Nova Scotia, Canada, ignited Tana’s love for writing, and she created her first book, “Why Dogs Are.” Shortly after this trip but prior to publication of her book, she lost the love of her life, Ken to illness. Devastated, she left her first manuscript unattended for several years until she made the bold decision to self-publish. She established a publishing company, Kendall Neff Publishing (KNP), through which she created the “Love Unleashed” series, which is comprised of: “Why Dogs Are”; “Why Cats are”; and “Why Horses Are.” Her published works achieved recognition, including being named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards competition, Spirituality category, and a Silver Medal in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards celebrating authors who create books that inspire children to read, to learn, and to dream. All net proceeds from book sales have been donated to regional non-profits. After Ken’s passing, Tana became more involved in Shiloh Methodist Church, serving as its events coordinator and bookkeeper. She is credited with creating numerous community and fundraising events, including Carols and Cocoa and the annual Nativity Walk, where she donated several of her personal nativity sets. Tana’s impressive career spanned over 30 years as a faculty member at several universities and an award-winning author. Her marriage to Ken was one for the storybooks, and her love for God and her community resulted in countless acts of kindness and charity. Tana’s love for animals endures through Mila and Bracket who have found a loving home with the family’s dear friend, Daizy Bailes. Tana was preceded in death by her mother and father, Alberta and Myron Neff; husband and the joy and love of her life, Kenneth Thompson; and her stepson, Anthony Thompson. She is survived by her stepchildren and their families, Brent and Suzette Thompson (Lookout Mountain, GA) and Cheryl and Tim Monkhouse (Adelaide, Australia); her cousins and their spouses, Dorothy Sibert and Sellers Smith (Atlanta, GA); Lucy and Dave Downs (Willoughby, OH); John and Linda Sibert (Falls Church, VA); Dan and Joy Malycke, (Purceville, VA); Karin and Ray Dridge (Virginia Beach, VA); and Sue and Dennis Middleton (Valley View, OH); and their children and grandchildren. Tana had a profound effect on the people who knew and loved her, and she is truly missed by all. A service will be held on Saturday, July 29, 2023, at 10:30 am, at Shiloh Church, 181 Shiloh Lane, Talladega, Alabama 35160. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to one of the following charities in Tana’s loving memory: Hand in Paw, Birmingham, AL Warrior Canine Connection, Boyds, MD Lucky Break Pet Rescue, Normandy, TN Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL Usrey Funeral Home in Talladega is assisting family.
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Shiloh United Methodist Church
181 Shiloh Lane
Talladega, Alabama, United States
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1947 - 2023
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