Kristen Denise Thompson, 21: Wanted to be a school psychologist

Kristen Thompson of Atlanta knew her way around the kitchen.

At Augusta State University, the popular junior may have perfected some dishes. She was known for laying out spreads that reminded students of home.

Patricia Thompson of Atlanta said she'd told her daughter she couldn't afford to be the campus chef. But Ms. Thompson had a kind heart and an easygoing demeanor. Food aside, people enjoyed her company. Some students on campus called her "Ma."

"I used to tell her, ‘Kristen, you cannot feed all of Augusta,' " her mother said. "She loved to cook, but I had to put a stop to some of that. She had a big heart."

Recently, Ms. Thompson had twice seen a doctor at a medical clinic for suspected strep throat. On Tuesday night, her mother talked to her by phone twice. When she checked in on Wednesday, she got no answer.

That same day, Mrs. Thompson got a call from a college official. A pot of soup had been found on the stove in the student's apartment in University Village, where her daughter was a resident assistant. Ms. Thompson apparently died in her sleep, although the cause of death has not been determined. She was 21.

The funeral for Kristen Denise Thompson will be at noon Tuesday at The House of God Church Inc. in Avondale Estates. Donald Trimble Mortuary, Inc. is in charge of arrangements.

Ms. Thompson was a 2006 graduate of Grady High, where she was a magnet student. She was a junior at Augusta State, a school she chose over Kennesaw State University.

In college, she was an assistant in the Dean of Students office; an orientation leader; a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority; and a former member of the ASU gospel choir, according to a Jan. 22 article that appeared in the Augusta Chronicle.

A psychology major, she had plans to pursue her master's and doctorate degrees. She'd talked about being a high school counselor.

"She said that when she left high school, no one had told her what the world in college was going to be like but me," her mother said. "She wanted to help guide students."

At The House of God, Ms. Thompson was active with the youth group and church choir. Whenever she attended church while on college breaks, she'd sing a song. The first Sunday after New Year's Day, she sang, "I Won't Complain."

"She was a multi-talented person," said Carrie M. Grimes, the pastor at The House of God. "To lose her is a shock because we have lost a pillar. She would have been a pillar no matter what community, state or even country she lived in."

On Thursday, Augusta State held a memorial for Ms. Thompson. Dr. Joyce Jones, the dean of students, called her a "mothering person" who "took care of everybody," according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Ms. Thompson had told her mother she probably wouldn't make Atlanta her home. After living in Augusta, she'd grown accustomed to a more leisurely pace. But she made her mother a promise:

"She said she'd build a house big enough for me to live on one end," her mother said, "and her to live on the other."

Additional survivors include her father, Gary Thompson of Atlanta; and a grandmother, Fletcher Palmore of Decatur.