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Dr. Richard B. Thompson

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Dr. Richard B. Thompson Obituary
Dr. Richard B. Thompson

He had a great life!

Our father, Dr. Richard B. Thompson, died Sunday, August 25, 2013 in Yakima, Washington. He was 87 years old.

Dick Thompson was born on June 1, 1926 in Fresno, CA. He enlisted in the Army at 17, after completing high school in Santa Cruz, CA, and served in WWII in the Philippines, receiving a Purple Heart from injuries suffered in combat. When Dick returned, he attended San Jose State College in California where he earned his bachelor's degree in biology, and met his first wife Nelda Alstrand. Dick and Nelda married, then moved to Seattle in 1950, where Dick began working at the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI). Three children were born - Katherine, Teresa, and Calvin. Dick then began working on his PhD at the University of Washington, and after completing his studies worked as a Fisheries Biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) until retirement in 1989. He was involved with many important fisheries management laws, which are still in use today. In 1982, Dick married Betty Willard, and became a stepfather to her four children; Craig, Dave, Sharon, and Jean. A large, happy, blended family became his new life, and the yearly family campout was born, which was usually attended by every member of the uncommonly close siblings and step-siblings and their families. In 1991 Dick and Betty left the city life of Seattle and moved to a ranch they called "R4Acres" in Ellensburg. After Betty's passing in 2007, Dick decided to downsize and moved to Yakima in 2009 to be closer to his son, Cal.

Dick's favorite hobby was fly fishing. He was a past president and honorary life member of the Washington Fly Fishing Club (WFFC), where he spent as much time as possible in the pursuit of fish and the development of the perfect fly! Dick's TDC (Thompson's Delectable Chironomid) fly was developed and is still in use today by many fly fishermen. In addition to fly fishing (primarily catch-and-release), Dick loved to spend time outdoors, to hunt birds with his various breeds of dogs, to travel, and to try new things. He was an avid photographer, a writer, a teacher, and voracious reader. He was always up to something.

Dick is survived by his three children; Katherine Kirsch (Stephen) of Everett, Terry Foley (Chris) of Anchorage, and Cal Thompson (Jeanne) of Yakima, his stepchildren, Dave Willard (Tamra) of Monroe, Sharon Jablinske (Steve) of Lake Stevens, and Jean Blair (Scott) of Snohomish. He leaves behind 13 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, and a sister, Mildred Williams of Ukiah, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents Baxter and Lucy Thompson of Westport, CA, first wife Nelda, second wife Betty, and his stepson Craig Willard.

Dick will be greatly missed. He lived a wonderful, full, and active life, and his family will miss his leadership, guidance, and sense of humor, but not his dog whistle! Rest in peace Dad, and enjoy the sunset as the fish rise to your dry fly on your favorite fishing lake.

A memorial service will be held at the Lodge at Canyon River Ranch, 14700 Canyon Rd. Ellensburg, WA (along the Yakima River, 1/2 way between Ellensburg and Yakima) on Saturday, September 7, 2013 from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Keith & Keith Funeral Home in Yakima are entrusted with arrangements. Please see their website at www.keithandkeith.com for a link for service details and directions, and to sign the guest book. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Washington Fly Fishing Club (Seattle), or the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club (Ellensburg).
Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 1, 2013
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