February 04, 1928 - November 11, 2009
February 04, 1928 - November 11, 2009
Rusty Thompson, first female mayor of Ho-Ho-Kus (1996-2003) and first female councilmember (1991-1995) died on November 11, 2009 at the age of 81. The cause of death was cancer.
Rusty enjoyed involvement in two careers. Having attained a Masters Degree in Administration from Columbia University, she had professional employment for forty years in educational administration climbing the ladder of upward mobility until she retired from her executive position. It was after that phase in her life that she became active in municipal government.
She served the Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus as the first woman councilmember from 1991 through 1995 and the first woman mayor from 1996 through 2003. During her tenure in office she was a member of the Planning Board, Commissioner of Public Relations, Deputy Commissioner of Roads and Parks, Council liaison to Library Board, Council liaison to Chamber of Commerce, Council liaison to Recreation Commission, Co-chairperson Ho-Ho-Kus 300th anniversary, Chairperson ADA Transition Plan, Chairperson Ho-Ho-Kus 2000 Census, Member Bergen County Northwest Mayors Association, Member of Bergen County Mayors Association, and Member Local Emergency Management Council.
In addition to her thirteen years of involvement in municipal government, she was a Member Ho-Ho-Kus Blood Donors Association, Member Explorer Scout Scholarship Committee, Member Ho-Ho-Kus Woman’s Club, Member Hermitage Advisory Council, Member Community Church Guild, Member Cedar Crest Protestant Council, Member Ho-Ho-Kus Valley Hospital Auxiliary and previously a Valley Hospital volunteer for one full day per week for ten consecutive years, Retired Charter Organization Representative to Troop 54 and Cub Pack 54 from which she retired after twenty years of service as a member of the Troop Committee.
Rusty was very, very proud and treasured the HONORARY MEMBER status given to her by the Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Fire Department, the Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department and the Auxiliary of the Ho-Ho-Kus Fire Department.
Upon the moving of the borough hall from Franklin Turnpike to new quarters on Warren Avenue, many suggestions were received as to the use of the abandoned property. She was proud of her initiative and involvement in the establishment of Memorial Park (across from the Inn) and the up-dating and creation of permanent veteran monuments.
Another project that captured her interest was the campaign to raise money for the installation of the Town Clock. The members of the town council and she were determined that the clock would be purchased by voluntary contributions and not be part of the municipal budget. As chairperson for the project, she delighted in the response from residents and organizations and the money was raised in record time. A list of the donors is displayed on one of the walls in the borough hall.
The creation and annual production of the Town Community calendar began with her. When asked about it, she was quick to add that such a product would not have been accomplished if it were not for the talent and involvement of Councilmember John Mongelli.
Rusty had a long and dedicated involvement in The Community Church of Ho-Ho-Kus. A long time member she served as an elder and deacon for fifteen and a half years, a past and present member of the bell choir since 1989 and she played the Carillon music that traveled forth from the church tower on Sundays mornings. Several years ago she was honored as the recipient of the Bergen County Council of Churches Annual Award.
She suffered the loss of what she referred to as two perfect husbands. In spite of the devastating loss she often said she was blessed to have her life enriched by them. She was predeceased by her husband Stuart Thompson, a former Ho-Ho-Kus councilmember (1968-1975) and mayor of Ho-Ho-Kus (1976-1983) and son Charles Thompson. She was predeceased also by her first husband, John A. Ellis, son Jackie Ellis and grandson Eric Miller. Her only brother, Peter Jared Paulison Jr. and only sister Anne Tabbert predeceased her as well.
Survivors include: her daughter, Martha Jane Ellis Miller, her stepson, John Thompson, her brother-in-law, George Thompson, her nephews William Tabbert and Peter Jared Paulison III and nieces Laura Johnson, Janice Keating, Elizabeth Douglas and Sally Carrasco as well as thirteen great nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held in the Ho-Ho-Kus Community Church, 400 Warren Avenue on Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 3:00 P.M.
Anyone wishing to make memorial contributions may do so to: Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Fire Department, Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Ambulance Corps., The Community Church of Ho-Ho-Kus, Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department.
Arrangements by the Vander Plaat Funeral Home 257 Godwin Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ 07481. www.vpfh.com
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