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Beloved South Store Cafe Co-Owner Lee Thompson Has Died

“We're scrambling as we try to reinvent the cafe without Lee's guiding hand,” says her husband

South Store Cafe
Yelp/Daniel C.

Lee Thompson, the owner of the historic South Store Cafe in Scholls, died on April 10, and sympathy from the community has poured out on the cafe’s Facebook page. In a Facebook post, South Store Cafe writes Thompson “succumbed to in infection that was unrecognized until it had too strong a hold on her. She did not stop fighting but was unable to prevail.”

Established in 1903 and serving platters of fresh-baked pastries, biscuits and gravy, and turkey and swiss sandwiches, the cafe is a popular stop for those in the Scholls community, as well as many Portlanders visiting Washington County, with the Smith Berry Barn located next door. The restaurant temporarily closed last week, but it reopened, with regular hours, on April 18. Thompson’s husband and South Store Cafe co-owner Ralph Morgan tells Eater, “We're scrambling as we try to reinvent the cafe without Lee's guiding hand.”

Thompson’s personal Facebook page has been turned into a memorial for those seeking to share thoughts and memories. A service will take place on Saturday, May 6, at Oregon Heritage Farms.

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