“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
On November 18, 1945, a baby girl was born to Willie Mae Brown Thompson (“Ma Mae”) and Glenn Leroy Thompson (“Pa Glen”) whom they named Viola (“Vi”).
Viola was the second youngest of seven children in the Thompson household and the youngest girl. Viola received her primary and secondary education in the Kershaw County School District and soon after prepared to “take her talents” to South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC.
Viola studied at South Carolina State University from 1963 to 1968, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Vocational Business Education and participated in the Beta Alpha Psi Business Organization. Viola prided herself in working towards her education, working to fund her education, and sending any support home to assist with the day-to-day finances.
While at South Carolina State University, she married James Arnold Hickson and together they had two young men, James, Jr. and Dexter. Viola would later marry Hosea Lee and have a precious daughter, Nicole Lee (Shubitz).
She started her career at the Felton Laboratory School, where she served as secretary to the director and business teacher. The following year, she taught at Wilkinson High School as the Vocational Business Education teacher.
Eager to do more, Viola then moved to Denver, Colorado, where she joined IBM Corporation and served as a Market Support Representative. She later became the Market Support Manager and then Service Manager. Viola managed many responsibilities throughout her 22-year IBM career in Denver, Dallas, Houston, and Cary, NC.
Viola then returned to education after leaving IBM and taught for Wake County Public Schools. For 11 years, Viola enjoyed sharing the skills with teachers and students that she acquired while working for IBM. While at Wake County, Viola obtained her National Board Certification, worked on the Superintendent Teacher Advisor board, and served as President of the Business Education Teachers in the State of North Carolina.
During her time in North Carolina, Viola attended the Kirk of Kildaire, PC (USA), where she served as youth adviser, chair of youth committee at the presbytery level, was Co-Director of Youth Conferences at Mo-Ranch in Hunt, TX and Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC. While serving as Moderator of New Hope Presbytery, Viola began training to become a Commissioned Lay Pastor.
In 2006, God directed Viola back to Texas where she had not lived since 1993. Viola had the pleasure of working with her son, the late Rev. James Hickson Lee, helping to charter his church, New Covenant Fellowship on January 18, 2009. She was a passionate member for almost 17 years, while serving other congregations and communities. Viola obtained her certification in October 2008 to become a Commissioned Lay Pastor.
In 2009, Viola was Commissioned to pastor her new church family at Faith/Fe Presbyterian in Lockhart, TX, performing all the duties of a minister where she would serve for 6 years. Leading worship on Sunday mornings, leading worship on two Wednesday evenings per month, assisting in leading Bible study two Wednesday evenings per month, administering the sacraments, officiating weddings, funerals and "Sweet Fifteens", etc. Additionally, she served as President of the Lockhart Ministerial Alliance and on the Board of the Caldwell County Christian Ministries.
In 2018, Viola moved back to Plano, TX to join Dexter, Sherrena and family. She rejoined Grace Presbyterian where she and the family worshipped from 1984 to 1993. Upon her return, she taught the toddlers and worshipped with the Grace family until she was no longer able to attend.
Viola was a member of a wonderfully blended family that includes her three children, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and the families of her former spouses, James Hickson and Hosea Lee. Viola is survived by children Dexter (Sherrena) Frisco, TX, and Nikkie (Dylan) Austin, TX and five grandchildren Jessica Lee, Dexter Lee, Jr., Aaron Lee, Jason Lee, Lee Shubitz, two great-grandchildren Alaiya Lee, Shachaar Lee; brother Willie Frank “Buddy” Thompson of Camden, SC; sisters, Julia Duren of Camden, SC and Lula Greenhow of Chicago, IL.
Viola was preceded in death by her son, James Hickson Lee, brothers Glenn Phillip “Buck” Thompson, Everett Thompson and sister, Addie Flounnory.
A visitation for Viola will be held Wednesday, November 9, 2022 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, Inc, 714 W. Dekalb St., Camden, SC 29020. A funeral service will occur Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 11:00 AM at Ebenezer AME Zion Church, 3402 Ebenezer Church Rd, Camden, SC 29020 with interment to follow at Rock Spring United Methodist Church cemetery, 2695 Kirkland Cemetery Rd, Camden, SC 29020