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Dolores Roe Thompson, longtime Streeterville resident, dead at 88

Mrs. Thompson enjoyed visiting Los Angeles. In the mid-’70s, “We were having lunch at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel and were waiting for the car to come around. Charlton Heston was standing there waiting,” her son said. “She turned to him and said, ‘Oh, Moses!’ It was very entertaining.”

Dolores Roe Thompson loved living steps from Lake Michigan in Streeterville.
Dolores Roe Thompson loved living steps from Lake Michigan in Streeterville.
Provided

After Water Tower Place was built, Dolores Roe Thompson didn’t really see much of a need to go west of Michigan Avenue.

On or east of Michigan was where she took her walks, shopped and dined out, according to her son, veteran Chicago radio host Roe Conn.

She loved living steps from the lake in Streeterville.

Mrs. Thompson, 88, died Saturday of complications from Lewy body dementia at The Selfhelp Home on Argyle Street, he said.

She lived a peripatetic existence as a girl. She was born in Philadelphia to Loretta Spellman and B.T. Roe, a traveling sales executive who represented manufacturers of refrigerators and Crosley radios and a Los Angeles aviation supplier. They later divorced.

Young Dolores started high school in Los Angeles before switching to a secondary school in East Washington, Pennsylvania, where she lived with her aunt Eleanor Roe Samolsky.

Summer breaks meant adventure. She’d hit the road with her father for his business trips. He’d criss-cross the country from New York to California. Sometimes they dined at the famed Brown Derby in Los Angeles, where he dated a woman who worked on Bugs Bunny animation at Warner Brothers, her son said.

After high school, she traveled to Europe via ocean liner. One of the other passengers was Bud Abbott, straight man from the comedy duo Abbott and Costello.

Dolores Roe Conn at graduation time from Northwestern University.
Dolores Roe Conn at graduation time from Northwestern University.
Provided

She graduated from Northwestern University and settled in Streeterville, where she met her first husband, Harold M. Conn, a World War II veteran who served as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, their son said.

In 1955, they married and lived in Yuma, Arizona, and Palm Springs, California, before returning to the Midwest, where he developed real estate.

In addition to their son, they had a daughter, Tracy, before their divorce in 1975.

She then married Dr. Charles E. Thompson, an early concierge physician and advocate of preventive health care. His practice specialized in maintaining the health of executives from major companies like Sears and Harris Bank. “One night he had to run up to Lake Geneva; there was a corporate titan who had a heart attack,” her son said.

Mrs. Thompson always enjoyed visiting Los Angeles. In the mid-1970s, “We were having lunch at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel and were waiting for the car to come around. Charlton Heston was standing there waiting,” her son said. “She turned to him and said, ‘Oh, Moses!’ It was very entertaining.”

“She was fashionable and always interested in the arts,” he said. She decorated her home with an eclectic mix of antiques, 1970s modernism and treasures from her travels.

She liked to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, keeping an eye out for designs by Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.

The Thompsons enjoyed dining at La Stanza and the Cape Cod Room.

Her son said she and her second husband were active in fundraising for Henrotin Hospital and the Art Institute of Chicago and educational and social services.

Dolores Roe Thompson
Dolores Roe Thompson
Provided

“She would literally at night get on the phone with her friends, and she would talk for hours,” said her son, who currently works on a special project team at the Cook County Sheriff’s office. “I always said to her, you would have made an excellent talk show host.”

“When a Van Johnson movie came on, we had to watch,” he said. She loved Turner Classic Movies, and “she never tired of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’“

Services have been held. In addition to her children, Mrs. Thompson is survived by her granddaughter Torie Conn.