Tom Lasorda and April Thompson. Photo by Joo SooHoo.
April Thompson, who died on Saturday, was the Manager of Stadium Services at Dodger Stadium. She had worked her way up after beginnining in the 1970s as one of the first female ushers, working the outfield pavilions in a uniform that had to be acquired from the Barlow Respiratory Hospital because the stadium didn't provide unis for girls. The Dodgers held a pre-game moment of silence earlier this week and team historian Mark Langill posts a tribute at the Dodgers Insider blog. Team photographer Jon SooHoo also posted a tribute at his blog.
April Thompson accepted her unique place in Dodger history with a smile, the trademark of her 38-year association with the organization. Her untimely passing on Saturday left her colleagues stunned, along with the generations of Dodger fans who enjoyed her sunny disposition at the ballpark.
I never heard April discuss the details of a pennant race or speculate on the best way to better tweak the roster. She enjoyed people, which made the won-lost standings obsolete. When she walked the concourse levels of the stadium during a game as Manager of Stadium Services, she didn’t mind the interruptions and random questions from fans. Her gentile demeanor could diffuse any situation.
Inside the office, she volunteered for every employee event, including a recent on-field event in which April distributed wristbands to employees and their guests entering the center-field gate. She greeted the children and hoped they had fun at the ballpark.
My first memories of April were as a fan while sitting in the outfield pavilions in the mid-1970s. Between every inning, the ushers and usherettes walked up the stairs and stood on the platform, looking out at the crowd. April seemed to be the only female working in the area....