Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles John Thompson, 94, formally of Petersburg, died Oct. 8, 2013, in Sun City Hospice, Fla. Born March 20, 1919, in a blizzard in Leola, S.D., the son of Clara Schuchardt
and Thomas John Thompson.
He enlisted in the Army, December 1939, and was assigned to 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. On Dec. 7, 1941, Heavy Weapons Platoon Sgt. Thompson defended against attacking zeros from the roof of his barracks.
On Aug. 1, 1941, he was commissioned 2nd lieutenant infantry. Shortly thereafter, on Aug. 8, he married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Phyllis Moen, followed by a honeymoon in quaint Columbus, Ga., while attending Airborne and Communications School.
Assigned 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, his first combat jump was into Holland during Operation Market Garden, 1944. Capt. Thompson was assigned to the newly formed Army Rigger School at Fort Lee in 1953. In March 1954, he served as airborne advisor to the French during the battle of Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam. He was thereafter stationed with his family in Kokura, Japan, for three years. He retired as deputy commander of the Rigger School, 1961.
He was an ALMC instructor, Fort Lee, 1961 from 1969. In 1970 to 1972, he directed the Army property disposal command in Bein Hoa, South Vietnam. From 1973 to 1975 he served in Wiesbaden, Germany, and traveled throughout Europe. He again crossed the Nijmegen Bridge, captured by his unit during Market Garden. From 1976 to 1982 he taught, trained and shared his vast and varied experiences as an instructor at ALMC, Fort Lee.
Among his awards and decorations: Bronze Star/V, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Wings with Star in addition to numerous campaign and service medals. He retired to "Little Oaks" farm in Brunswick County, where he excelled in his avocation, raising polled Hereford, tending a large garden and fruit trees. Family and friends delighted in his yearly BBQ and picnic.
In 1953, Charles was founding member of The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Petersburg. He served faithfully in all capacities of his spiritual community: men of the church, councilman, president and formed the St. James Society. In Brunswick County, he was an active member of Concord Methodist Church. Further retiring to Sun City, Fla., in 2003, with wife Janet, he joined Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. He was a member of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, 508th Parachute
Regiment Association and 82nd Airborne Association. He was a member of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and Mayflower Society.
Charles is preceded in death by: his loving wife, of 48 years, Eleanor Moen Thompson; and his brother, Dr. William Thomas Thompson of Tempe, Ariz.
He is survived by: his wife, Janet Thompson; his brother, Alfred Wayne Thompson; sisters-in-law, Loretta and Marilyn Thompson; his sons, Charles John Thompson II, Daniel Moen Thompson; and daughter, Lisa Marie Thomasson; grandchildren, Elizabeth Moen McCormack, Daniel Hargrave Thompson, Alexandra Leigh Thompson, John Charles Thompson III, Thomas John Plaster, Clarie Ann Plaster, Thomas Edward Plaster; and great-grandchildren, Isaiah Scott Nowlin, Stella Grace McCormack, Isabel Harrison McCormack and Owen Thomas McCormack.
Charles John Thompson was born in a blizzard and passed into sunshine.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, at the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, 1769 S. Sycamore St., Petersburg.
Family will receive friends in the parish hall following the service. Charles and Eleanor will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery, at a later date.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Charles John Thompson Memorial Fund, The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer.
Funeral arrangements by the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small
Funeral Homes & Crematory, 2033 Boulevard.