Richard W. Thompson, born on October 14, 1923 in Buffalo, NY, died on March 10th at Parkhaven Retirement Community in Manhattan, MT. Manhattan is a lovely farm community close to Bozeman, where he received excellent love and care from their care partners. His children, Sally, David and Mary Jo were at his side when he died, after struggling with Parkinson’s disease for many years. His beloved wife of 67 years, Dorothy Fletcher Pendleton, predeceased him in November of 2013. Although we all miss him terribly, we are thankful he is pain free and at peace.
Dick and Dottie began their church mission service work as fraternal workers for the Presbyterian Church in the Philippines from 1946-1950, teaching history, English and music while helping to rebuild the battered churches and schools in Cebu. They returned to New York City in 1950, where Richard completed his Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan., NY. His first congregation was in Winnebago, Minnesota, from 1952-1957, after which the family moved to East Grand Forks. After serving Mendenhall Church from 1957-1966, he ministered in Jamestown ND, and then returned to Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1970, for a Master’s degree in religion and psychology. He then moved to Oklahoma City in 1971, where he was the head Chaplain at Presbyterian Hospital, teaching courses on death and dying to the doctors and nurses and establishing a Chaplaincy training program, until his retirement in 1988.
Richard’s personal ministry took many forms, whether participating in Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, establishing canoe trips for the youth of Minnesota, or being a Boy Scout leader, he always worked for the fairness and equality of everyone’s life. Richard and Dorothy continued to take canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota; hike with friends in the Colorado, Montana and Washington mountains; bike in Texas and Sweden (Dorothy); take road trips to see all of their special friends and family, until their late 80’s. Richard continued to play golf and bridge well into his 90’s. He never lost his wonderful outlook on life and his enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors. His last expressions were words of thanks and love to clergy and family.
A special thanks from his family for the love, support, kindness and fun times with the members of all the churches and hospitals where he served.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Mendenhall Presbyterian Church in Richard and Dorothy Thompson’s name.