William Francis Thompson
William Francis Thompson (21 June 1926–1 February 2020)
William “Bill” Thompson of Spokane, WA passed away peacefully on February 1, 2020, surrounded by family and friends. Abandoned as a month-old infant on the doorstep of the Florence Crittenton Home in Los Angeles and separated from his twin sister, Manya LaTour Cheren, Bill was quickly adopted into the loving home of Arthur and Victoria Thompson. As a toddler, Bill was cast in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short movies from MGM under the name of Billy Fildes. His happiest childhood years were spent living in Glendale, CA and camping with his family in Yosemite National Park. During World War II, Bill served in the US Navy from 1944-46 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La. One of his most cherished memories as a veteran was participating in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial and meeting another Naval sailor, Senator John McCain and fellow WWII vet Senator Bob Dole. Following his Navy service, Bill attended WSU and was a proud Cougar.
In 1951, he married the love of his life, Nancy Carthey Shepherd. Early in their marriage he worked at the Los Angeles TV station KTTV channel 11 before making a successful career as a Group Insurance Sales Manager for Blue Shield of Southern California. Family years in
Alhambra, CA were spent hosting pool parties in the backyard for family and neighbors in the Midwick community, serving his church, coaching baseball, playing golf, and remediating household plumbing problems with comedic results.
After retiring and moving from Alhambra to Escondido, CA, Bill enjoyed the dream of country club living at Escondido Country Club. He served on the board of the Men’s Club and community associations. He would often be seen in his blue-green golf cart playing a round of golf, fixing sprinklers for his community, giving rides to his grandkids or practicing his putting.
Friends would often say, “No one drives a golf cart like Bill!” In 2005, he and Nancy moved from Escondido to Spokane, WA to be closer to his daughter, Debbie Sieverding. He loved volunteering at local golf courses and hospitals and following his beloved Gonzaga Bulldogs, Seahawks, and Mariners.
Throughout his life, Bill was a voracious reader and lifelong learner. He surprised all of us at age 80 by passing the USTA exam to be a tennis referee and then also passing the insurance exam to recertify his license when he saw the need to help seniors understand the complexities of health insurance. Family members loved and supported his hilarious attempts at modern technology as well as his insatiable addiction to chocolate shakes and malts. As a former high school marching band musician, he still regularly practiced on his clarinet. Friends and relatives were often treated with one of the lighthearted poems Bill wrote to celebrate holidays, farewells, and celebrations.
Bill is survived by his wife of 68 years, Nancy Carthey Thompson, sister Manya LaTour Cheren, sister Ray Eileen Jamieson, and preceded in death by sister Gertrude “Jean” Lawrence. He is also survived by son David Thompson (Barbara), daughter Debbie Sieverding (Tom). Bill is also survived by foster son William Tracy Cowle (Clennie) and is preceded in death by foster daughter Michele Fildes. In addition, Bill is also survived by foreign exchange students Doriana Fallo of Italy, Doris Hafner of Austria and Christina Axelson of Sweden. He is also survived by grandchildren Carthey Van Dyke (Trevor), Haley Sieverding, Rachel Thompson, Emma
Thompson and Cameron Cowle. He is also survived by one great-grandchild Brielle Van Dyke.
A Celebration of Life Open House will be on Sun. Feb.16th from 1-3p at Rockwood Lane, 221 E Rockwood Blvd. Donations can be made to the Hospice House of Spokan e or the First Tee o f the Inland Northwest.
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