Wilbur "Moose" Thompson
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Wilbur "Moose" Thompson died Christmas morning in Long Beach, California at the home of his daughter, Toni. When asked recently how he was doing, Wilbur responded, "Think of a 1921 vintage Ford with original parts. That's me and everything is wearing out." Wilbur's heart, an original part, gave out on December 25, 2013. He was 92. Born on April 6, 1921, in Frankfort, South Dakota, he grew up in Modesto, California, graduating from Modesto High School. He attended the University of Southern California (USC) and served in the Army from 1943-46. A longtime Long Beach, California resident, he was a petroleum engineer for ARCO then chief of Long Beach Operations at State Lands Commission. Wilbur won the Olympic gold medal in the shot put at the 1948 London Games. His gold medal win of 56 feet, 2 inches set an Olympic record. He stayed connected to the track and field world his entire life, competing into his 80s in Master and Senior events. Also, he worked with the coaches at California State University, Long Beach and the track team's shot put and discus throwers. He was an avid student of the art of throwing, especially the mental preparation needed for competition. Wilbur is survived by his four children: daughter Susan (Steve) Browning of Nevada City, CA; daughter Patricia (Mark) Thompson of San Francisco; CA, daughter Antonia (Laz) Issa Labera of Long Beach, CA; and son Christopher (Elizabeth) Thompson of New Rochelle, NY. He is survived by 10 grandchildren: Jefferson (Kristen) Dolan; Stephanie Dolan; Dylan (Sarah) Bethel; Cassady Bethel Thompson; McLeod Bethel Thompson; Abdul (Anna) Issa; Omar Issa; Conlan Thompson; Violet Thompson; and August Thompson, and 2 great grandchildren Lucas and Kathryn Dolan and great granddaughter Kathryn Dolan. He leaves behind nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a USC track and field scholarship fund: USC Trojan Force memo line: Wilbur Thompson. Mail donations to Ari Monosson, 13075 Pacific Promenade #213, Playa Vista, CA 90094. Please sign the guestbook at www.presstelegram.com/obits.
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on Jan. 15, 2014