Prominent West Texas historian and author Cecilia Thompson of Marfa died Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, at Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine after a brief illness. She was 91. A memorial will be held at a later date. Cecilia was born April 10, 1920, to Norma M. Thompson and Harold G. Thompson, a ranching family in Fort Davis. Her grandfather came to Far West Texas with the Gage family. Later, her grandfather moved his ranch ownership to the Fort Davis area. From early times, the family was involved in the formation of the county and of Marfa and Fort Davis. Her childhood was spent along Limpia Creek, which she loved dearly. It was there that she acquired her love of Far West Texas and her extensive knowledge of the region. Cecilia enrolled at Sul Ross State University in 1940 just as World War II was about to begin. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and speech. She then received both a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in theater from the University of Iowa. From 1944-47, she taught at Oklahoma College for Women at Chickasha. From 1949-51 and from 1954-56, she taught at Texas Tech University. From 1956-61 she taught at Slippery Rock State College in Slippery Rock, Pa., and from 1963-67 at the University of Texas at Arlington. From 1968-73, she was a Sul Ross faculty member. Cecilia's theatrical activities included: 1951, actor, Southwest Repertory Theatre in Waco; 1952-53, director, Ethan Allen Playhouse, Summer Stock Theatre in Brandon, Vt.; 1963, house manager, Sacramento Music Circus in California; 1963, director, Wichita Falls Community Theatre; 1963, guest director of Fort Worth Community Theatre; 1964, actor, Casa Ma±ana in Fort Worth; 1976, NBC daytime TV script writer, New York; 1999 to the present, guest director, actor, Marfa productions at the Crowley Theatre. As her parents' health began to fail, Cecilia returned to Marfa in the 1970s to take care of them. In 1985, the Presidio County Historical Commission enlisted Cecilia to write the county's history. She accomplished this in two volumes in 1985, the "History of Marfa and Presidio County, Texas, 1535-1946." It won numerous awards, including the T.R. Fehrenbach Award for Best County History Publication in Texas in 1985. In 2001, Texas Tech honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Theatre Arts. The city of Marfa honored Cecilia for her achievement in writing the history of Marfa and Presidio County. Her numerous publications included a history of Big Bend Telephone Co. in 1980, a history of the Border Patrol in Marfa, and numerous articles in Town West, a regional magazine. Cecilia also had served on the Big Bend Natural History Association board of directors since 1984, and was a Presidio County Historical Commission director starting in 1982. Her career as a historical preservationist continued in 1985-86 as archivist and research assistant at Fort Davis National Historical Site. From 1990-93, she was the chief historical and architectural restoration researcher for El Fortin del Cibolo at Cibolo Creek Ranch. Her work helped the ranch fort obtain state and national historic recognition. She directed numerous plays at the Marfa Theatre. One of her favorites was "Our Town," considered by many a great success. Her enthusiasm for the arts and history were the prime interest of her life. Cecilia was involved in many community activities and delighted in watching the rebirth of Marfa's art, music, literature, historical preservation, dance and restoration of valuable architecture. Cecilia spent her later days surrounded by friends who were her "family." The last five years had been spent collaborating with Louise O'Connor on Volume III of the more recent history of Marfa and Presidio County. "This brought her great joy and her knowledge of the region, of writing and historical preservation was her life's blood and an invaluable contribution to the history of the region," friends said. She also collaborated with O'Connor on a book of Marfa photographs. "Her joy and enthusiasm for the plays, music performances and especially the Lannan Foundation writers knew no bounds," her friends said. "She attended every event that the new cultural world of Marfa presented and supported and enjoyed it all. It was all a flow of new life for her as she participated in and encouraged it all." She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Genevieve Thompson; and a brother, "Boy" Thompson. Survivors include many friends all over Far West Texas.