November 21, 2023


Essie Lee "Gloria" Bickham Thompson

September 23, 1950 - November 15, 2023

"And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'"   Luke 23:43

During the evening hours on November 15, 2023, the Lord, in his divine grace, ushered Ms. Essie Bickham Thompson into her eternal home. 

Essie Lee "Gloria" Bickham Thompson was born on September 23, 1950 in Bogalusa, LA, to the late Jewel and Alice Bickham. Known affectionately as "Gloria" by family and close friends, she lived a remarkable life as a doting daughter, devoted wife, adoring mother and grandmother, a cherished aunt, an impactful educator, friend, and loved one to many.

At an early age, she joined Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, where she remained a faithful member until her untimely passing. 

Essie was married to the late Newton Williams, and they became the proud parents of two children, Duan Williams and Dawndra Barnes. She later married her beloved husband, Sylvester "Bill" Thompson.

Essie attended and graduated from Central Memorial High School with the class of 1968. She then went to Southern University of Baton Rouge, LA, where she received her Bachelor's in Education. Subsequently, she attended Southeastern University in Hammond, LA where she earned her Master’s and 30+.

She was a beloved member of the Washington Parish School System and taught for over thirty years at Wesley Ray Elementary, earning recognition as Teacher of the Year in 2005. 

Essie was a God-fearing and kind-hearted woman, always willing to help anyone in need. She dedicated much of her time to serving her community, whether it was by giving back to the homeless, serving as a poll worker, or supporting those less fortunate.

Her memory will continue to live on through her loving family. She is survived by her son, Duan Newton Williams of Desoto, TX, and daughter, Dawndra Williams Barnes of Arlington, TX; Four grandchildren, Jekhari “Jey” Williams, Jemiah Williams, James Barnes, and Kylah Barnes; a special niece and nephew, Veronica and Aaron Brown; a special cousin, Devonnie Banks; a host of cousins, and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her late husband, Sylvester “Bill” Thompson; parents, Jewel and Alice Bickham; two brothers, Ellis Leroy Spikes Sr. and Stanwood Bickham; one sister, Irene S. Wilson; two nieces, Tandra and Tanzongie Brown; three nephews, Aaron Joshua Hillery, Stanwood Bickham Jr., and Carl Stanley Weary, and several other friends and family.

Her celebration of life will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, November 25, 2023 at Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 444 Elliot Avenue, Bogalusa, LA 70427; burial will follow at the Robinson Cemetery in Angie, LA. 

Crain and Sons Funeral Home in Bogalusa are in charge of arrangements.

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