Life Story / Obituary
Loving and kind, hard-working and generous, creative and witty, Cynthia Lu Thompson lived a wholehearted life, rich in family and friends. Cyndy enthusiastically met each joy and challenge with grace. She possessed an artist's spirit and recognized the beauty in everything. In so doing, she taught others how to recognize the Sacred in the ordinary and the magic in the mundane. With an easy-going personality and a great sense of humor, she embraced each moment as an adventure and every person as a gift. A devoted mother, grandmother, and friend, Cyndy was a gift to all who were blessed to know her.
A time of innovation, the year 1957 found the U.S. economy booming. The need for consumer goods grew as manufacturing attempted to keep up with demand. It was the peak of the "baby boomer" era and a time when families prayed, played, and sat at the dinner table together. American Bandstand made its debut while Elvis Presley recorded numerous hits, and the introduction of the Frisbee and Tonka Trucks became the delight of children everywhere. It was a time centered on family and hope. Nowhere was their greater hope than in the hearts and home of John and Mary (Kozlowski) Balulis they welcomed their daughter Cyndy into their family on March 4.
Cyndy grew up in a home focused on faith and family. While her father worked at Michigan Bumper and as an upholsterer, her mother was a homemaker. Their home was filled with tradition often inspired by her grandparents, who were immigrants from Poland and Lithuania. The youngest of the five Balulis kids, Cyndy was a "professional" little sister. Her older siblings, Julie, Nora, John, and Carol showered her with affection and attention. Cyndy's parents raised their children in the Catholic Church and afforded her a parochial education at Saints Peter and Paul Elementary School. Though Cyndy's childhood was built on the firm foundation of faith and the value of hard work, her parents also instilled the importance of restoring one's spirit with leisure. They took family camping trips and often visited the local parks; Big Star and Wolf Lakes, in Baldwin, Michigan, were favorite vacation places.
From the start, Cyndy had a natural drive to help the less fortunate or struggling. Her spirit of generosity inspired her to always look for ways to help the less fortunate. As a teen, Cyndy attended Harrison Park Middle School and graduated from Union High School. She was a talented artist and was always studying the world with a sense of wonder. Over the years, she honed her artistic skills creating detailed blue and white illustrations, tattoo designs, and lovely jewelry, which was her passion. Sadly, Cyndy lost her brother Johnny to PTSD at the young age of 24. The trauma of losing him left an indelible mark on the rest of her life.
In 1979, Cyndy married Michael Thompson in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In time the couple was blessed to welcome four children to their family. Joe, Micki, Kari, and Holly were the centers of Cyndy's world, and she relished being their mother and dedicated herself to their good care. She was very active in their lives, even participating in Girl Scouts with Holly. She enjoyed preparing delicious meals for her family, infusing every morsel with love. She liked experimenting with flavors and rarely made the same dish the same way twice. As in her own childhood, Cyndy shared the love of the outdoors with her children. Summers were spent exploring Northern Michigan cabins, camping, and boating at Hardy Dam in Newaygo and on the Muskegon River. Though Cyndy and Michael's marriage ended after more than 20 years, Cyndy was always grateful for the precious gift of their children.
As her children grew into adulthood, Cyndy consciously created a healthy balance between being a good mother and a good friend to her children. She maintained excellent communication and close connections with her children and later with her treasured grandchildren. Without a doubt, her grandchildren were her heart's delight. She cherished every moment they shared, telling great stories that often resulted in big belly laughs and giving them special gifts.
In her retirement, Cyndy enjoyed traveling. She took incredibly wonderful trips to New Orleans, Mexico, and Lake Tahoe with her sisters, Nora and Julie. The three sisters made many cherished memories while adventuring together. More treasured memories were made cruising in her much-prized 1979 Camero.
There is no doubt that the world is darker in the absence of Cyndy's loving companionship. And, though our days with her were far too few, Cyndy's bright and beautiful spirit will surely continue to shine on in our hearts and lives. In every moment we share a warm smile, greet a stranger with kindness, give of our talents, and chose faith in the face of uncertainty, we keep Cyndy's legacy alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Parent: Cynthia L. Thompson, of Grand Rapids, MI, age 63, passed away unexpectedly at home on January 14, 2021. Cyndy was born March 4, 1957, in Grand Rapids to the late John and Mary (Kozlowski) Balulis. She was also preceded in death by her siblings, John Balulis, Julie Austof, and Carol Smith. Cyndy is survived by her children, Joe (Mary) Thompson of Rockford, Michelle Thompson of Grand Rapids, Kari Thompson of Grand Rapids, Holly (Levi Holloway) Thompson of Nashville, TN; grandchildren, Payton, Annika, Londyn, Jameson, Dylan, Kairi, and Kayshius, Also surviving are her sister, Nora Dauser of Winston Salem, NC; brother-in-law, Steven Smith of Grand Rapids; cousin, Brenda Radaz; and special friend, Mary Arim. According to her wishes cremation has taken place. A memorial gathering will be held Friday, January 22, 2021 from 4-7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. To read more of Cyndy's Life Story, leave a memory or condolence, visit www.heritagelifestory.com.