Alvin Jerome Thompson, MD, MACP, a dedicated physician, community leader, mentor and family man died on May 21, 2012 at age 88. Dr. Thompson was born on April 5, 1924 in the District of Columbia to Victor Justin Thompson of Annapolis, MD and Aurelia Pinchot Speller of Washington, DC.
He loved music and performed in the first production of the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society's, Mikado, as the Mikado and as the Pirate King in the Pirates of Penzance. He was an avid sailor, runner and lover of the adventure and wonder of life.
Dr. Thompson was appointed to the West Point Naval Academy in 1941, received his Bachelor of Science from Howard University in 1944 and his Doctor of Medicine from Howard University College of Medicine in 1946. Following his graduation from medical school, Dr. Thompson moved to St. Louis where he completed his internship and residency at Homer G. Phillips Hospital from 1946-1951.
It was during his residency in St. Louis that Dr. Thompson met and married his beloved wife Jewel Faye Grindle. Dr. Thompson and his new bride moved to Puerto Rico, where he served as Chief of Medicine at Ramey Air Force Base Hospital from 1951-1953. Dr. Thompson was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force with the rank of Captain. He later attained the rank of Major in the United States Air Force Reserve.
Dr. Thompson moved with his family to Seattle in 1953 where he worked as an Examining Physician at the Seattle Veterans' Administration. In 1957, he began private practice in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, establishing the GI lab at Providence Hospital. He honorably served his patients before retiring from private practice in 1994.
A man of compassion and commitment, Dr. Thompson served on numerous boards and participated in various organizations including: Physicians' for a National Health Plan, The Seattle Foundation, IslandWood, Transitional Resources, Puget Sound Blood Center, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, Washington State Association of Black Professionals in Health Care, The Pacific Northwest Kidney Center, The Salvation Army, Goodwill, Blacks in Science and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, representing the American Medical Association. He established the Alvin Thompson Medical Student Support Fund at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. Dr. Thompson played a major role as the architect and facilitator of the Health Component of the Model Cities Program which developed the plan to provide health care for the disadvantaged.
Dr. Thompson was appointed Clinical Professor of Medicine and later Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington. He was appointed as a consultant to the National Institute of Health and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences in the Institute of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Thompson served as President of the Washington State Medical Association, the King County Medical Society, The Washington State Association for Biomedical Research and as Governor of the American College of Physicians for Washington and Alaska.
Reflecting his decades of community service and involvement, Dr. Thompson received numerous honors including: The Ralph O. Claypoole, Sr. Award for the Devotion of a Career in Internal Medicine in the Care of Patients, The John Geyman Health Justice Award in recognition of tireless commitment to justice in healthcare, The Scribner Courage in Health Care Award from The Pacific Northwest Kidney enter, The Dr. Benjamin Rush Award of the American Medical Association, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Distinguished Service Award for Community Service and Volunteerism from the University of Washington, The Robert H. Williams Superior Leadership Award by the Seattle Academy of Internal Medicine and, The National Association of Medical Minority Educators for Outstanding Contributions in Health.
Dr. Thompson is survived by his wife Faye and his children Michael (Flo), Donna (Stephen), Kevin, Susan and Gail (Jim) as well as four grandchildren, Aurelia, Michael, Graham, Ryan and one great-grandchild, Kyle.
He was a man of honor, a man of intellect, a man who devoted his life to helping others without personal gain in mind, a man who touched and changed the lives of others in all that he did. For over 60 years, Dr. Thompson was deeply involved in clinical practice and medical teaching, community leadership, organized medicine, medical quality-improvement activities and advocacy for minorities. In his recognized service to his family, profession and community, he quietly and generously supported many in their educational, political, social and economic pursuits. He will be missed.
A private family service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Alvin Thompson to the Alvin Thompson Medical Student Support Fund at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. Gifts may be mailed to:
UW Medicine Advancement, Attn: Gift Processing Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195-8045.
Make checks payable to the UW Foundation.
If you wish to leave a tribute to Dr. Thompson, or share a personal story, please visit People's Memorial at http://funerals.coop.
Published in The Seattle Times from June 8 to June 10, 2012