American Veteran 07

William "Bill" Edward Thompson

September 16, 1942 ~ August 2, 2020 (age 77)


William E (Bill) Thompson passed away on August 2, 2020, peacefully at home, in Klamath Falls, Ore.

A Marine, a friend, and a true public servant. Bill was born on Sept. 16, 1942, the only son to Thomas Edward Thompson and Lorette Thompson. Bill graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BBA, in 1965 and was part of the fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. It was during his college experience Bill began what became a decorated military career, first as an appointed Midshipman, Marine option, in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. The Marines commissioned Bill as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he entered TBS in Quantico. Bill went on to serve three and a half years of active duty, deploying to Vietnam, and advancing to Company Commander with the Third Marine Division. The Secretary of the Navy awarded him the Navy Commendation Medal, with the 3rd Marine Division, in addition to the command's Presidential Unit Citation. The award is now known as the Navy and Marine Commendation Medal with Combat V device. In 1967 he lost his dear friend, First Lieutenant Michael Grammar, USMC KIA in I Corps, during a battle. On release from active duty he remained a reserve and was honorably discharged as a Captain in 1977. During Bill's varied career in Military, transportation and disaster management, he participated in the introduction and roll out of the 747 jet program with American Airlines, he responded to emergencies and disasters from tornadoes in Oklahoma, earthquakes in California, Klamath County in Oregon, flooding, wildland fires and hazardous situations across the West Coast. While in Vietnam, his tour included battles and operations from Tam Key, to Da Nang, Phu Bai to below the DMZ at Quang Tri. He served in Bravo and Charlie Companies of his Batallion, and later as Executive Officer of a Battalion sized preparation and training unit for Marines deploying to combat, while he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In 1968, American Airlines management invited Bill to join the team in LAX, where he served as a supervisor. He went on to be the Executive Director of the Red Cross for both the Fresno and Klamath Basin chapters. In 1995, he took on his final professional assignment as a beloved County Emergency Manager of Klamath County. He served in that role until his 2010 retirement. Always a “do-er”, Bill was active in the United Way, the Orpheus Chamber Music Association, Episcopal Church, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and several political campaigns and passion projects. Bill's friends will miss him terribly, most notably Dave and Marion Campbell, Dean and Kelly Minty Morris, Teri Richardson and son Jeff, Steve and Laura West, John Houlihan, LT Jerry Stern, Retired LASO and LT Tim Erwin, and all his Klamath County Sheriff's Office Dive Rescue friends. Bill also leaves behind his fur babies Our friend, hero and mentor will be interred at the Eagle Point VA Cemetery. Thank you to the Angles of Klamath Hospice for their compassion and support.

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