John W. Thompson, Jr., 89, recently of Rockingham, entered his eternal rest March 11, 2017. He was born October 22, 1927 in Anniston, Alabama to the late John Washington Thompson and Annie Burton Gay Thompson. The family moved from Anniston to Memphis, Tennessee, to Biloxi, Mississippi, as Mr. Thompson's job as a shoe salesman required. In the midst of John’s years in college shortly after WWII, he served in the US Army as a psychological examiner. In 1950 John received a Master of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Florida. Besides getting his degree and a Phi Beta Kappa key there, he found the real treasure of his life - Joann Deen, his wife and best friend for the next 65 years.
After graduating and getting married 3 weeks later, John worked in the textile industry for four decades in several different capacities including shift supervisor, industrial engineer, plant manager, director of training, and management consultant. Among the companies he worked for are American Efird, United Merchants and Manufacturers, Werner Consultants, Bluebell (Wrangler manufacturer) and Vanity Fair. John was always a conscientious worker and an excellent provider for his family. John definitely worked hard, but he liked to play hard too. All throughout his life he enjoyed several different games and sports. From an early age he excelled in ping pong, going on to win the table tennis championship at the University of Florida in the late 1940's. In high school he played basketball and football, and as an adult was an active tennis player for many years. Indoors, he played pool and chess. He is still remembered by some in the Greensboro Chess Club for his longtime membership there. Even in his late 80's he won many games of ping pong, pool and chess and was constantly coaching all his caregivers to improve their skills. When they would occasionally beat him, he would say, "No more lessons for you!" but later he couldn't hold back from instructing them some more - a trouble-shooter and a teacher to the end!
John and wife Joann shared a long, full life together. They were members of the Guilford Park Presbyterian Church in Greensboro for decades. At various times they both taught Sunday school, and they were Meals-On-Wheels volunteers together. Also, they both enjoyed playing the piano. Never having had lessons, John played by ear and even composed many songs that he played right up until the last few months of his life. John and Joann liked to dance together, even after she got Alzheimer's. One of the greatest achievements of John's life was caring for his wife at home over the 20-year duration of her disease. With God's help, which he sought increasingly in his later years, he truly loved and provided for his wife in sickness and in health.
John and Joann's children and spouses are as follows: daughter Carol Harrison and husband John of Greenville, SC; daughter Peggy Stone and husband John of Rockingham; son John W. Thompson III and wife Linda of Burlington, NC; and son Jeffrey D. Thompson and wife Stacy of Southern Pines. Grandchildren are as follows: William Harrison; Mary Stone Moulder (husband Nathan), Samuel Stone (wife Kristen), Philip Stone (wife Amanda); Matthew Thompson (wife Amelia), Melissa Thompson; Murphy Thompson, Camille Thompson. Great-grandsons are Uriah, Simeon and Gideon Stone and James Stone.
A service to celebrate John Thompson's life and the eternal life offered by Jesus Christ will be held 4:00 PM Saturday, March 18, 2017 at Watson-King Funeral Home in Rockingham. Visitation will begin at 3:30. The service will be led by John's son-in-law Rev. Dr. John B. Stone and by grandson Phil Stone.
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