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James Cleo Thompson Jr.


1930 - 2010
James Cleo Thompson Jr. Obituary
DALLAS James Cleo Thompson Jr. (Jimmie) went to heaven on November 19, 2010 after a courageous battle with bladder cancer. He was born in Dallas on August 25, 1930 to Christine Chandler Thompson and James Cleo Thompson, Sr. He attended Highland Park High School where he lettered in football and played in the state championship games in 1945 and 1947. In 1946, he played in the state semifinal game.

In 1948, he entered Southern Methodist University, where he studied engineering and geology. Jimmie was a member of the famous SMU Football Team of the early 1950s. During part of the 1951 season, his team ranked number one in the nation.

After graduation, he planned to enter SMU Law School, but his life changed dramatically. On June 14, 1952, he married Dorothy Kuntz. Theirs was one of the very first weddings performed in the Perkins Chapel on the SMU Campus. That same summer they went to work in Crane, Texas, where he and his father had acquired three small rundown oil leases. Jimmie went there to restore them and put them back in production. His fascination with the people, business, and values of the oil and gas industry began at this time in life. His intention to go on to law school was over. His future was set. Soon more and more leases were acquired. At that time, Jimmie and his father formed a company named Thompson Petroleum Corporation, which continues to actively pursue the oil and gas business.

And at the time of his death, Thompson was considered one of the most respected and successful independent oil and gas producers in the nation, with operations mainly in West Texas and New Mexico. In almost six decades of his career, he was one of the first operators to use new technologies for the discovery, development, and production of numerous fields, in the Permian Basin. People knew him as an old wildcatter who still believed a handshake sealed a deal. His love and enthusiasm for the oil industry had no boundaries. Jimmie also entered the cattle and ranching business with operations in Hood and Crockett counties of Texas and Conejos County, Colorado, known as "Double T" Ranches.

Jimmie Thompson received numerous awards in the petroleum industry including being named "Chief Roughneck" in 2001, the most prestigious and coveted award from the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers awarded him the Chairman's Award for Exemplary Service and the Distinguished Service Award. In 2005, was named a "Dallas Oil Legend" by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. In1998 he received Hard Hatters Award.

Thompson was a Legion of Honor member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. In addition, he had served on the Natural Gas Committee of the IPAA and on the advisory committee for the U.S. Department of Energy National Petroleum Council. In May 2010, the Midland Wildcatters Committee honored Thompson and his company with a reception at the Midland Petroleum Club.

Additionally, in 1991 he received an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Howard Payne University. In 2000, he was named as SMU Distinguished Alumni. In 2002, Thompson received the SMU Dedman School of Law Honorary Alumnus Award. He was named a Highland Park High School Distinguished Alumni in 2003.

Thompson contributed time, expertise, insight, and financial support to a variety of educational institutions so that others could be given opportunities that he was given. He had served on the Board of Trustees for SMU, the board of the Howard Payne University Academy of Freedom, and the board of SMU's Maguire Institute of Oil and Gas. And was currently on the executive board of SMU Dedman School of Law. In memory of his father in 1984, he established the J. Cleo Thompson Law School Chair and in 1990 he endowed Thompson Law Scholarships Program which awarded over 100 three-year full law school scholarships since its inception. Also, the Thompson family dedicated the Thompson academic complex to Howard Payne University in 1996.

Since 1974 Jimmie Thompson was Chairman of Trustees of the Hatton W. Sumner's Foundation which has given over 875 full scholarships to date for law and government studies as 12 colleges and universities, in addition to program grants totaling over $55.2 million dollars. He was a member of the President's Associates and the Hilltop Society at SMU, as well as the Letterman's Club and a Thoroughbred Member of the Mustang Club.

Other boards on which he has served are the Dallas Petroleum Club, Highland Park United Methodist Church, Texas Capital Bank Shares, and the National Center for Policy Analysis. Since 1979, Thompson served as Chairman of the Crockett National Bank of Ozona, Weatherford, and San Angelo, Texas.

He generously supported Baylor University Medical Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as a "Friend" Sustainer and the West Texas Rehabilitation Center. For many years Thompson supported and sponsored countless Little League teams and girls softball teams throughout the West Texas area. In 2005 he helped the Odessa YMCA meet its expansion project. The result was the J. Cleo Thompson Family Center, which provides exercise facilities for all members.

Jimmie Thompson served his industry and his community as a dedicated and highly effective leader. His achievements and his integrity exemplify the oil and gas industry of this nation.
Considering the length of time served in the industry and the hundreds of contacts made through partners, employees, their families, and the civic and educational activities, Jimmie Thompson reached countless numbers of individuals whose lives have been positively affected by his unique talent and character.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy of 58 years of marriage; 2 daughters, Christy Thompson and Linda Gordon; and son-in-law Gary Gordon; brother-in-law, Louis Kuntz and his wife Barbara of Fullerton, California; his beloved collie, Hank; and Carmen and Mario Lopez who have been faithful household employees for the last 41 years. He is also proudly survived by the many employees who have benefitted by his leadership and example for many years.

Private graveside services at Sparkman Hillcrest will be followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m. at Highland Park Methodist Church on Monday, November 22, 2010. The family will receive friends immediately after the service in the church parlor. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Research Program of Dr. Ganesh Raj for Bladder Cancer, Department of Urology at UTSW Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines, Dallas, Texas 75390.
Published in Odessa American from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2010
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