It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Irene Hill Thompson, 94, the wife of one of the first African American graduates from UT Austin, Oscar Thompson, and an active East Austin community member. She passed away last week. Irene Thompson graduated from L.C. Anderson High School in 1939 and from Samuel Huston College with a degree in biology in 1942. She worked as a secretary for many years at Anderson High School, then in the AISD office, finally becoming supervisor of child accounting.
Oscar Thompson graduated from UT with a master’s degree in zoology in 1951. As Irene told Austin American Statesman writer Michael Barnes, she typed Oscar’s dissertation. After graduating Oscar worked at UT as a researcher on a sickle cell anemia project. At the time of his death, he was teaching at Huston Tillotson and working on a doctorate at UT. The Thompsons were good friends with John Chase, the first African American to enter the School of Architecture. After Oscar passed away, he designed a house just for Irene.
Services will be held for Irene on April 20 at 1 p.m., at Ebenezer Baptist Church where she worshiped for more than 50 years.