On July 24 2021, Dr. Page attended the funeral service honoring Former State Representative Betty L. Thompson, a woman who served her community with seemingly boundless passion for over 40 years.
She was a trailblazer, as the first African American female elected to the City Council of University City (in 1980), the first African American elected to Women in Government – an arm of the prestigious Nations League of Cities, the first African American to serve on the cabinet of St. Louis County Executive-Democrat Buzz Westfall, and the first Democrat to be elected by the Republican Majority as Vice-chair of the Ethics Commission. She also served as the Democratic Majority Whip during her Missouri House tenure.
Her contributions to our County, region, and state were significant, and her loss is deeply felt. Dr. Page expressed his condolences to her family and many friends, and was honored to have the opportunity to give the following remarks at her service:
There are people who come into your life and immediately make it better.
Betty Thompson was one of those people.
I sat next to her when we were both serving in the Missouri House of Representatives. I watched her passionately fight for her constituents, to help the rest of Missouri understand the challenges our residents face here.
She was not afraid to talk about – or tackle – tough issues.
During my campaign, she was an advisor. Where she stood was never in question and her candor was appreciated. She didn't tell me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to know.
When I became County Executive, Betty remained a go-to for advice. She advised me on the pandemic, talking about the toll it was taking on African Americans.
It helped shape our response to the pandemic, as we opened COVID-19 testing sites early in north county and prioritized our vaccination efforts in ZIP codes where vaccine rates remain low.
I remember how excited Betty was when she got vaccinated. She told everyone she could to go get a shot. As a trusted voice in the community, that has been invaluable.
The health and welfare of everyone in the community has been our priority from the beginning of the pandemic. Betty made sure we did not waiver from that commitment.
Through Betty, I met her son, Tony. He has become an advisor and friend.
Everybody in this room has stories similar to mine. Touched by a woman who took on City Hall, then kept going. Betty represented the best in all of us.
Politics can be rough and tumble, but she emerged with grace and the respect of her peers from both sides of the aisle.
I will miss Betty, but forever hold on to the 20 plus years she allowed me to lean on her for opinions on how to tackle the tough issues and do the right thing when it's often not the easiest path froward. To be true to yourself and everyone else.
We will miss you, Betty. Thanks for taking so many of us in. We are all better for knowing you.