William (“Bill”) Tyler Thompson, 96, died Thursday morning, December 28, 2017 in hospice care at Twin Oaks Health & Rehab, Lansing, Kansas.
William (“Bill”) Tyler Thompson, 96, died Thursday morning, December 28, 2017 in hospice care at Twin Oaks Health & Rehab, Lansing, Kansas. The funeral will be held Saturday, January 6, 2018 at First Christian Church, Leavenworth, Kansas, with visitation from 10 a.m. to Noon and the service beginning at Noon. He will be buried in Leavenworth National Cemetery (VA) Monday, January 8, 2018, at 11 a.m. The family request that memorial gifts be donated to the American Red Cross in lieu of flowers.
Bill was born August 27, 1921, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the son of Lloyd W. and Marjorie Tyler Thompson. He graduated from Shaw High School in 1939. Due to his parents moving and financial considerations related to those moves, his college credits come from Kent State University, Northwestern University, The University of Minnesota and Duluth State College. He also received credit for several courses taken at the University of Iowa while in military service.
In June, 1942, he entered service in the U.S. Army. He was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services and after training in the Washington, D.C., area shipped to England on the Queen Mary. One of the elite “Jedburghs” of the OSS, predecessor of the modern Special Forces, his three-man team jumped into the High Alps region of France in August 1944 and worked with the French resistance until the end of 1944. He then served the last year of the war in China with an OSS Special Operations team. He was discharged as a Master Sargent in December of 1945.
After the war he finished his BA degree in Music Education at Kent State where he met Myrtle (“Pic”) Wirth, to whom he was married in September 1946. After teaching four years in Michigan he accepted a position with the Chamber of Commerce in Overton, Texas. He came to Leavenworth, Kansas in 1971 as Chamber manager after working in similar positions in Port Arthur, Brenham, Childress, and Hereford, Texas.
He retired from Chamber management in 1979. He was asked to head the local Chapter of the American Red Cross in 1983, which he did for eight years.
He is survived by three children, Tyler B. Thompson (Paula) of Midland, Michigan, Kerry I. Thompson (Marlene Thom) of Melrose, Massachusetts, and Bryan L. Thompson of Clovis, California. He is survived by grandchildren Joy H. Ferguson, Paul T. Thompson, Nathan S. Thompson, Christopher W. Thompson, and Carlee Pic Thompson and great-grandchildren Dillon Thompson and Westley Kerry Thompson.
Myrtle (Pic) died of cancer in 1991. In May of 1992 he married Bonnie Lee Mays, a widow. They shared 12 happy years of travel, community service, and companionship until Bonnie died of lung cancer in 2004. Lundy Mays of Leavenworth, Kansas, Bonnie’s daughter, has been Bill’s best friend, companion, and caring helper since Bonnie’s death. The rest of Bill’s family recognize and deeply appreciate Lundy’s selfless service in support of her stepfather.
He belonged to the First Christian Church of Leavenworth. He was active in the Leavenworth Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Rotary Club (past president), Special Forces Association, Special Operations Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Red Cross board and the National Red Cross Disaster Assistance organization, and served at 17 national disasters. He was an active amateur radio operator, extra class, and was active in the Army Military Affiliate Radio network where he was State Director for Kansas and later Training Director. He was a member of the Pilot Knob Amateur radio Club, the Old Old Timers Club, the Quarter Century Wireless Club, Ten Ten International, and the net of former OSS radio operators known as the Comm vets. He and Bonnie delivered meals on wheels and books on wheels. He served on the board of the Leavenworth Public Library for 11 years and as its chairman for two years. He also served as a member of the City of Leavenworth Board of Planning and Zoning.
Arrangements entrusted to Davis Funeral Chapel. Condolences may be left on Bill’s online guestbook at www.davisfuneralchapelinc.com