After eight years of holding off and fighting the scourge of cancer, Barbara Kate Thompson Conner went home to be with her Lord and Saviour on Sunday night, at the Community Hospice House in Vidalia.
Barbara was born into a wonderful family on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1956 to James Oliver Thompson and Lessie Amanda Palmer Thompson of Ailey, GA. Barbara’s birth mother passed away in 1964; and James remarried Gloria Duggan in 1965. She graduated from Montgomery High School in 1974 and attended Brewton Parker Junior College, where she was active in student government as a freshman and in the school’s award winning choir in both of her years at the school.
After her graduation from Brewton Parker, she attended Georgia College in Milledgeville, majoring in Home Economics and graduating in 1976. She lived and worked in the Athens area for several years, working a variety of jobs with Keller Optical, PYA-Monarch, and the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.
After several years in North Georgia, she found an opportunity to teach in the Montgomery County system; so she moved back to her hometown. It was during this time that she became engaged to John Wilson Conner of Vidalia. The two one-time school acquaintances were married on July 16, 1994.
While at Montgomery County, Mrs. Conner’s Family and Consumer Sciences presented a FACS project at the National Convention in Los Angeles, California. The project won a national championship at the convention. She was also very active in the Vidalia First Baptist Church and her Pairs and Spares Sunday School Class. She also enjoyed being a member of DAR, helping out with United Way and getting together with high school friends, particularly her supportive friends with Girl Scouts.
After a vacation to Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada in 2013, Mrs. Conner was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that can cause fractures. She suffered several fractures, including a break of her humerus that required a partial shoulder replacement, 7 compression fractures of her vertebra, 4 broken ribs, and a fracture in her hip.
Several years of chemo treatments, surgery, and a stem cell transplant followed. Treatments at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute and Meadows Cancer Center in Vidalia consisted of several chemo drugs and multiple transfusions of blood and platelets. Barbara and John both fought this cancer together. Trips to Atlanta for treatments were combined with shopping at Costco for John and at Talbots for Barbara.
The couple still managed to find time to travel some. Vacations at Fort Myers Beach and Sanabel Island in Florida and to the 2018 Rose Bowl Parade and Football Game that saw Georgia beat Oklahoma in Pasadena, California were great trips that helped fight the monotony of cancer treatments. Recently, Barbara Conner was diagnosed with a second cancer, Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
She passed away on July 18, 2021. Survivors include her husband, John Conner, brother Jim Thompson, sister Maranda Baird, step-mother Gloria Duggan Thompson, sister-in-law Ann Conner Harrell, and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral will be held at First Baptist Church in Vidalia on Saturday, July 24th, starting at 11:00 a.m. Reverend Don Moye will officiate.
A visitation will be held on Friday night from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home in Vidalia.
The family would like to thank Dr. Sagar Lonial, one of the world’s most influential doctors in the treatment of Multiple Myeloma, Dr. Amelia Langston, the leukemia specialists at Winship, and Dr. Patrick Byrne, Dr. Stephen Tiley, and Dr. Jeffrey Hoy of Meadows Cancer Center in Vidalia.
Memorial donations made be made to the First Baptist Church, PO Box 631, Vidalia, GA 30475, or the Community Hospice Foundation, PO Box 2277, Vidalia, GA 30475, or the Cancer Center at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital, 1 Meadows Parkway, Vidalia, GA 30474.
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