BUCKLEY — Dr. John Thompson of Buckley, Washington passed away Dec. 18, 2020. He was born in 1925 in Alderwood Manor, Wash., to John A. and Nadine Thompson, and was the husband of the late Yolanda “Vi” Thompson.
He is survived by daughter, Alison, and son, Frederick (Velma), twin sister Mary Taht, sister Drusilla Upton, many younger family members, and countless ex-students, co-workers, and friends.
He served honorably in the Army Air Corp during WWII. Though he learned how to fly, motion sickness made him serve from the ground — in communication support and, miserably, as a test subject for the development of medicines to prevent nausea.
When he returned home, he found his bride-to-be, attending her dance lessons until she agreed to marry him. He never learned to dance.
He began teaching in Woodinville, migrating to Enumclaw in 1954. He worked tirelessly to provide for his family while maintaining and improving his beloved Carbon River Ranch. While working he also commuted to the UW to earn his doctorate in psychology and school administration. He was instrumental in establishing early childhood education in the Puget Sound region and he promoted distance learning for nontraditional students before it was considered an option.
Another move took him to the Long Beach Peninsula which he loved. As superintendent, the now Dr. Thompson was very involved in school-community connections, working with Sea Resources to enhance vocational education, restoring unused school properties for community use, winning grants to upgrade the track and stadium, helping establish the Cliff Rescue group.
However, his primary commitment was his students; always believing that every child could learn and grow into a productive member of society.
“John,” “Jack,” “Buddy,” “Dad,” “Grand,” “Dr. Thompson,” or “Dr. T” was woven into the lives of everyone he met. He was a lantern in the darkness and a lifeline for the lost. He read every book he touched and every face he saw. His hand could crack walnuts or stubborn skulls, milk a cow or write love notes. His voice could move mountains, but he also used it to save them.
The family offers deepest thanks to the medical personnel who cared for our beloved in his final days when we could not be with him. They also suggest these nonprofit charities for any memorial donations: Doctors without Borders, Mount Rainier National Park Associates, and Friends of the Carbon Canyon.