Cover photo for Virginia (Vei) Thompson's Obituary
1936 Virginia (Vei) 2024

Virginia (Vei) Thompson

March 21, 1936 — February 20, 2024

Our beloved and fun-loving mother and grandmother, Virginia (Vei) Thompson crossed the veil into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father on February 20, 2024. Her final days were spent surrounded by family.

 

Veisinia Tupou Thompson was born on Saturday, March 21, 1936 to Afei and Kasimea Tupou of Tu’anekivale, Vavau in the island kingdom of Tonga. 

 

Virginia lived a full life. Even as a young girl she had a hunger to dream larger than the tiny island she called home. Her curiosity and sense of independence started very young, which led to her often running away and forever keeping her family on their toes. Virgina found her

sanctuary in the nursing program at Liahona High School,  a high school administered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While attending Liahona, she found her true passion of caring for those in need. Her determination to excel and leave the small island life to pursue something bigger, wider and grandeur, she had her heart set on the United States.  

 

In 1958 when she was only 22 years old, she was awarded a scholarship to Rick’s College (now BYU Idaho) to continue her education and fulfill her dream to move to the United States. At this time, flying was very uncommon for Tongans. She and three others were the first Tongans to fly across the Pacific Ocean. In pure Virginia fashion she took this as a challenge and never looked back.

 

During her time at Rick’s College, she was determined to excel in all she could to make her American dream come true. She graduated and became a registered nurse and landed a job at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. She then married, and had three beautiful children, Lisa,

Ava and Lance that she adored with her whole heart. She later divorced. Once Virginia was established in her life and had the means, she helped her sister, Valeti, travel to the United States. This enabled Valeti and her children to bring the rest of the family to the United States, including Mele, Hafu, Foliaki and Sete.  This was the beginning of the Tupou family line in the United States which is now over 200 and counting!

 

Virginia’s zest for life and spunky style landed her a spot on the popular TV Show “Queen for a Day”. This was a program that showcased your personal style and highlighted financial and emotional hard times for a good cause. For her financial hardship she highlighted the devastation

happening in Tonga at the time; after a natural disaster swept through the island. Her compelling story and passion to bring awareness to the hard times Tonga had fallen upon, brought a great amount of donations to the island. Virginia received a personal thank you from the Royal Family for all she had done. Even though she left her little island to chase her dreams, she never stopped fighting to protect her home!

 

From all the amazing and unbelievable things Virginia accomplished in her life, her favorite stage of life was being “crazy grandma”! She had 11 beautiful grandkids and 18 adorable great grandkids. Virginia never shied away from bragging that her blood line made “movie star

looking babies”! She was not the average grandma by any means. She was the grandma that would climb trees to get the best fruit (or to throw fruit and pinecones at her grandkids as they walked by). She would teach them belly dancing, how to cook Tongan food, that more jewelry

and fun sunglasses were always the answer, how to score a good find at the thrift store, but most  of all she taught her grandkids to live life to the absolute fullest and dance through all the highs and lows that come their way.

 

Virginia is survived by her daughters, Lisa (Monte) Byram, South Weber, UT; Ava Thompson (Lecia Anderson), Aurora, UT; her grandkids, Thomas Byram (Lindsey Frederico), New York; Tierra DeJong USAF (Retired), South Weber, UT; Tiffany (Ramsey) Parr, Riverdale, UT; Dr.

Tanjerine Vei (Dr. Alexis Arcynski), LaVerne, CA; Steven (Cammey) Byram, Trenton, UT; Keara Naisbitt, South Ogden, UT; Siobhan (Braden) Gardner, Taber, Alberta, Canada; Hunter (Adam) Huber, Mapleton, MN; Haili (Braxton) Baker, South Ogden, UT; Jennifer Barbre, Toole, UT; Nicci Navarro, Syracuse, UT; 18 great-grandkids; and last living sibling, Foliake Tupou.

 

Virginia is preceded in death by her beautiful baby boy, Lance Thompson, her parents Afei and Kasimea Tupou, older sisters, Mele, Valeti, Lusi and brothers, Setelo, Andrew (Hafu) and Likaina.

 

Funeral services will be held Friday, March 1, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at  South Weber 8th Ward, 1401 E South Weber, UT. Friends may visit the family on Thursday, February 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 No. Fairfield Road in Layton, and Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the church. 

 

Interment, Uintah Town Cemetery.


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Thursday, February 29, 2024

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