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THOMPSON Cdr. Robert Stretch Thompson (U.S. Navy Ret.), 78, passed away peacefully at home on January 20, 2013 after a long courageous battle with cancer. Bob was born in Fairfield, Texas to Walter and Mamie Thompson (both deceased). During some historically difficult times, his parents worked hard to care for their family by doing farm work, so Bob grew up in rural central Texas. He had one sister, Violet, who preceded him in death, and is survived by two much loved brothers, Walter Sonny (Pauline) and Glenn Thompson, Ferris, Texas. In order to help his family, Bob had to drop out of school after the 8th grade. At the age of 19, he joined the U.S. Navy, and very soon his intelligence and hard work ethic put him on a path of great accomplishment. He rose to Master Chief, received an officer's commission and retired after 34 years of service as a Navy Commander with a college degree. During one of his earliest assignments, he met and married his sweetheart, Joan Ernst, of Jacksonville. They had four children, Rob, Bobbi Jean, Terry, and Glen. After a few early military moves, they were stationed back in NAS JAX, where Bob was well known and respected in the area of aircraft maintenance. During those years spent in Orange Park, Bob was one of the founders of Bel Med Athletic Association and coached youth baseball teams for many years, providing a great example to many young boys. His wife of 25 years, Joan, preceded him, after losing her battle with cancer. Bob was then stationed at NAS Beeville, TX where he met and married Betty Rash, who had two children Lezlie and Mark Rash. After his retirement in 1988, he was employed with contract aircraft maintenance and became the CNATRA Project Manager over six naval air stations, working the next 10 years for UNC, Raytheon, and Sikorsky. He retired in 1999 to his home on the St. John's River where he loved working around his home and spending time on his beloved dock. An accomplished songwriter and poet, he leaves behind some beautiful works to be cherished. He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Betty, and his children: Rob Thompson (Shirley), Bobbi Brennan (Neil), Terry Thompson, and Glen Thompson (Lusanne), all living locally; Lezlie Hukill (Kregg) of Plainview, Tx. and Mark Rash (Sandra) of Corpus Christi, Texas. To complete his life, he loved 10 grandchildren: (Rob) Christina and Casey, (Bobbi) David Schneider and Kyeli Brennan, (Glen) Ivan Fast and Eddie, (Lezlie) Kaitlin, Claire, and Lauren Hukill and (Mark) Aaron Rash. He is survived by nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and lifelong friends: Housers, Combests, Jetts, and Roses. Special loving appreciation to Our Jet Ski Buds, Joyful Servers of FBCOP, and Dr. Alvaro Moreno of Mayo Clinic. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Robert Thompson Sports Memorial which has been established and will help young children of need be able to play baseball. Donations are lovingly accepted; make donations to Bobbi Brennan (who is the account administrator), mail to 11725 Fitchwood Circle, Jacksonville, Fl 32258. Funeral services for Mr. Thompson will be held 2PM Thursday, January 24, 2013 at the First Baptist Church of Orange Park, 1140 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, FL with Rev. David Tarkington Officiating. The family will receive friends on Wednesday January 23, 2013 from 5PM-7PM in the chapel at JACKSONVILLE MEMORY GARDENS FUNERAL HOME, 111 Blanding Blvd. Orange Park, FL.
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Jan. 23, 2013
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