ENID, Okla. – Lee B. Thompson Jr. will likely be remembered for a lot of issues, however his humorousness and laughter are what these near him will miss probably the most.
Thompson, who died on January 30, was recognized to Enid for a lot of issues, however his hearty chuckle is what actually made the 6-foot-6-inch, 89-year-old’s presence recognized.
“What I miss probably the most, and what I’ll miss probably the most, is his chuckle and his humor, as a result of he is likely one of the funniest individuals I’ve ever met,” stated Thomson’s son, Lee B. “Trippy” Thompson III. “I noticed, ‘Wow, I am not going to listen to that chuckle’… I feel many will miss his chuckle as a result of it was an enormous, boisterous chuckle, chest like a barrel and an enormous booming voice … He was only a huge presence , booming. No matter room he was in, you knew he was in it, and I will miss him, I will miss this humor. “
Thompson was born on March 18, 1931, in Oklahoma Metropolis. His dad and mom had been Lee B. Thompson and Elaine Bizzell Thompson, daughter of the fifth president of the College of Oklahoma, William Bennett Bizzell.
He had two youthful brothers, Ralph and Carolyn, and he grew up with Ralph Thompson throughout World Battle II, residing on navy bases in Abilene, Texas, and Devens, Mass., Earlier than shifting again to OKC, the place the household lived close to Edgemere Park. , which Ralph Thompson stated was a magical area of creativeness for rising kids.
“Now what Lee and I at all times keep in mind was the enjoyable we had at Edgemere Park as a result of it grew to become all the pieces a baby’s creativeness may consider,” stated Ralph Thompson, who was 4 years youthful than his brother. “It was each battlefield of World Battle II. It was all of the stadiums featured: Yankee Stadium, the OU soccer stadium, the Cotton Bowl; no matter we needed it to be, it grew to become our creativeness and it was a really memorable a part of our rising childhood. “
When the 2 lived on navy bases, they had been the one kids and Ralph Thompson stated it was a “nice journey” for the youngsters. The troopers “screwed them up,” Ralph Thompson stated, and gave the 2 groups and cut-out uniforms so they might play “troopers.” Thompson then went on to serve two years within the Air Power.
In 1954, he graduated from OU with a bachelor’s diploma in enterprise administration the place he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He met Ann Richards on a blind date throughout his freshman 12 months, that very same 12 months. The 2 by no means dated anybody else after that, they married in 1954.
“I keep in mind as a result of our father was 6ft 6ft and weighed 165 kilos and had crimson hair, when our mom noticed him for the primary time, she thought, ‘That is the funniest boy I’ve ever seen.'” her daughter stated. Suzy Thompson remembered him laughing. “They at all times made one another chuckle from the beginning.”
They’d three kids: Kathi McGee, Thompson III, and Suzy Thompson. Suzy Thompson described her dad and mom as genuine individuals with distinctive personalities, and Thompson III stated they had been an amazing pressure collectively. The couple had been married for 47 years earlier than Ann died in 2001.
Thompson moved into Enid in 1961, grew to become a New York life insurance coverage agent in 1964, retired in 2017, and was a member of the Million Greenback Roundtable. He raised his kids in Enid, a metropolis he beloved very a lot. And town of Enid beloved him.
“He was so concerned civically, at all times making an attempt to do what he felt would make Enid higher,” McGee stated. “He at all times had Enid on the forefront of his thoughts. When (the youngsters) all of us left, he advised me a number of occasions, he didn’t perceive how anybody would need to reside wherever aside from Enid. I used to be proper the place I needed to be. “
In his 60 years right here, he was chairman of the St. Mary Regional Well being Heart board, previous chairman of the Enid Hearth Civil Service Fee, previous chairman of the Enid Constitution Assessment / Change Committee, previous chair of the Public Security Tax Committee and former treasurer and board member of the Better Enid Chamber of Commerce, the place he served on the board of navy affairs for Vance Air Power Base, in response to a 2004 Information & Eagle article .
As well as, he was president of the Enid Public Colleges Board of Schooling, Oakwood Nation Membership, Enid Airport Board, and Enid Rotary Membership.
These civic accomplishments led Thompson to obtain the 2004 Pillar of the Plains Award for excellent service. Each McGee and Suzy Thompson stated their father was honored and honored by the award.
“Most of us in his household had been unaware of his exceptional management, civic management at Enid,” stated Ralph Thompson. “He did not speak about his accomplishments and he wasn’t very affected person with anybody who did, however we had been very shocked and proud to know that he was an amazing civic chief at Enid and that he held all these positions of duty as a result of he by no means spoke a lot about his accomplishments.”
All of Thompson’s sons stated he would fly them to see OU soccer video games, which he was enthusiastic about. He was even a longtime observer for his buddy and broadcaster Bob Barry, ultimately turning into the producer for Sooner Soccer Community, volunteering to do it as a result of he beloved OU soccer, and Ralph Thompson stated it was a variety of enjoyable and an journey. for him.
Though he beloved soccer, OU basketball was Thompson’s old flame, Suzy Thompson stated. He entered the OU basketball workforce throughout his freshman 12 months after which performed on intramural groups, along with taking part in within the Air Power and industrial leagues.
For Thompson III, who can also be a Sooner fan, among the finest issues his father would do was have OU soccer gamers autograph Thompson III, along with bringing him to video games.
“For a child who was an enormous Sooner fan, I used to be actually fortunate,” Thompson III stated. “Being an artist, and with the ability to have these little drawings autographed by your favourite participant of the second, and simply with the ability to go to the sphere on the finish of video games and stuff, and go to the Orange Bowl and journey the workforce bus, stuff. properly, it is like, ‘Wow’ “.
Thompson III recalled that his father at all times revered the sport, even when the Sooners misplaced.
All three of Thompson’s sons attended OU, as did Ralph Thompson and his sons. The household, relationship again to former OU president William Bennett Bizzell, truly bleeds crimson.
Thompson wouldn’t solely take his kids to Norman, however additionally they flew to their trip locations, together with Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana. McGee and Thompson III even received to co-pilot the airplane, recalling tales their father used to inform about their flying adventures.
“I keep in mind a narrative that stored developing: When he began flying in his Cessna, he took me on the airplane with him and stated, ‘Now simply take the wheel.’ However he did not inform me to take it out slowly, ”McGee stated with a smile. “So with all my may, I received out and the airplane took off into the air.”
Thompson III will always remember a visit he took together with his father to Mackinac Island in Lake Michigan.
“There is just one clearing in these forests,” Thompson III stated. “We simply go down. (Thompson) had these sorts of superhero qualities as just a little boy him: 6ft 6in and across the prime 200lb vary … He was an enormous man, each in stature and in coronary heart. “
Thompson had many buddies through the years – hundreds of thousands, Ralph Thompson stated – and McGee stated he had childhood buddies in Oklahoma Metropolis that he was nonetheless buddies with till a few 12 months or two in the past.
As a heat and pleasant boy, he had the knack of protecting buddies, together with JB Baker and the late Esther Dreschler, who shared good occasions with Thompson.
Described as a cussed man by members of his household, Thompson was additionally a member of Enid’s “Good Information Espresso Group,” which he attended each Monday-Friday morning for 55 years, and the group grew to about 15 o extra individuals.
“That was actually vital to him,” Ralph Thompson stated. “He had a good time with all these individuals, they usually simply got here and went. Are you able to think about so many males, and ultimately ladies, of all political persuasions having espresso collectively each morning for all these years? He gifted me with tales that satisfied me that it actually wasn’t a spot for skinny skinned individuals, they usually had a blast. “
Thompson was a loyal, trustworthy, family-oriented and animal-loving man, who particularly beloved his cat Lulu for the previous twenty years. Though he will likely be missed by many, Thompson III takes consolation in realizing that elements of his father are nonetheless right here with him.
“I will miss it, however I will see it in my children, I will see it in my sisters,” Thompson III stated. “My voice is virtually equivalent to his, and I’ve a moderately sick chuckle. I really feel him in my presence … I’ve a variety of him in me … Now we have very comparable make-up when it comes to bodily attributes. I’ll see it all over the place endlessly. I am going to see issues that he would have thought had been humorous and once more it is his humor. Humor is an enormous a part of life for me and nobody made me chuckle like my dad. It was only a riot. “
A memorial service will likely be held when pandemic situations enable. The cremation preparations had been beneath the path of Henninger-Hinson Funeral House.