Many Worlds, No Colliding
As an international currency broker, Clive Thompson, who was known to almost everyone as Ian, did not fit the stodgy profile of high finance. Among fellow volunteers on the first-aid squad in his hometown, Summit, N.J., he was one of guys, just more fun than most.
"He would make himself the fall guy, " said Daniel MacMahon, a friend and fellow volunteer, who recalled Mr. Thompson's being thrown into a swimming pool, and stepping up to be the target of water balloons, at Fourth of July picnics.
"He was a magical person," said Mr. Thompson's wife, Lucy, with whom he immigrated to New York in 1992 from southern England, bringing a zest for work, friends, food and good wine. "He was living in the fast lane, and always thinking of other people, not himself."
Mr. Thompson, 43, worked pressure-laden hours at Euro Brokers, but by starting at 5 a.m., he managed to retain afternoons for other interests. There were the carpet-cleaning company that he founded, his volunteer work as an emergency medical technician and the meals he prepared for his wife and children, Ella, 13, and Rachel, 10.
He had "so many worlds that did not collide," his wife said. Mr. MacMahon put it differently: "Ian was a Renaissance man."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 19, 2001.
Clive Thompson, 43, loved the Apple
With a wife and two young daughters, Clive "Ian" Thompson left his native England nine years ago for the United States and the American dream.
He had jumped at the chance to arrange international bank loans for his company, Euro Brokers Inc.
He and his family adjusted well to their new home. He joined the Summit First Aid Squad while his wife worked in real estate. He opened up a cleaning business on the side, Albright Carpet Care.
The children made friends.
Then Sept. 11 came. The 43-year-old was in his office on the 84th floor of Two World Trade Center Tower. Mr. Thompson called his wife, Lucy, and told her he was okay, since the airliner had hit the North Tower.
"I know he was totally calm and confident that he would get out," his wife said. He was in Tower One in 1993 on the 31st floor and he got out.
"He probably stayed behind to help people. He was one of those individuals who was so giving he always put others before himself," she said.
Mr. Thompson's absence has left a gaping hole in the family's life, his wife said.
"The children are devastated," Lucy Thompson said. "They don't sleep. They are at the age when they need a father and their father was basically murdered. It is a nightmare. We are living from day to day wondering what's going to happen."
At a time when she should be planning a party or family affair, Lucy Thompson is preparing to eulogize her husband.
It will be difficult, she said. She has had to plan carefully because he did not like mournful affairs. There was a lot of sadness in his family, she said, noting Mr. Thompson had a brother who died at 10 months old and a sister who died as a newborn.
Well-wishers must wear brightly colored clothing to the service on Friday. An instrumental version of "New York, New York" will be played. "He absolutely loved New York."
Family and friends will swap stories about the man who was so reliable he would inconvenience himself for others. He was not a handyman, but he was a master at cleaning carpet. He played recreational golf but was not good at it. He loved playing cards and watching movies. He loved the movie "Life is Beautiful."
In addition to his wife, Mr. Thompson is survived by his daughters, Ella and Rachel, and a brother, Keith.
Donations may be made to the American Red Cross, the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, the Euro Brokers Fund at www.tradesoft.com or St. John's Lutheran Church for the Thompson family, 587 Springfield Ave., Summit.
Profile by Judith Lucas published in THE STAR-LEDGER.