Thursday, July 22, 2010

James Gilbert Thompson, Jr., Master Sgt. USAF(Ret)

James Gilbert Thompson, Jr., USAF(Ret)

James Thompson, Jr. was born on May 3, 1925 in Hannibal, Missouri, and passed away July 1, 2010 at Georgetown, Texas.

James proudly served his country in the United States Air Force for 30 years.  His service began at age 18 when he enlisted in the Air Force.  During World War II he served in Guam as an aerial gunner in the 20th Air Force (315th Bomber Wing).  He also participated in the battles  Air Offensive Japan and the Eastern Mandates.  Upon completion of his tour he was discharged and he joined the Reserves.

After the war, he attended college in Missouri.  Later he re-entered the Air Force and served as an aircrew member during the Korean Conflict and flew numerous missions during the Cold War with the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.  His military decorations include the Air Force Air Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.  He retired as a Master Sergeant.

While stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida in 1950, he met and married Francis Harris.  They had one son, James, an Ensign in the United States Navy, who has predeceased his parents and is buried in a National Cemetery at Fort McPherson in Nebraska.

Like Mark Twain, James loved the river and the surrounding bluffs of Hannibal, Missouri.  He was proud of his southern heritage, his family having moved from Kentucky in 1820 to Pike County Missouri.  He was a direct descendant of an American Revolutionary soldier.

James was also a retired Teamster, having been a line driver for Consolidated Freightways.  He was a fifty-year member of St. John’s #28 of Hannibal, Missouri, a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign War.

James was a life long motorcycle rider, having bought his first Harley Davidson in 1948.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection, a celebration of the life of James Thompson, was held on July 21, 2010 at San Gabriel Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, Texas.  The service commenced with the playing of “Amazing Grace”, James’ favorite hymn, on the bagpipes by the Pipe Major of the Georgetown Fire Department Pipes and Drums.

Present to honor this member of the “greatest generation” were Patriot Guard Riders from all over central Texas.  They formed a line of American flags around the entrances to the church to welcome the arriving family and friends.

After the service at the church, the Riders escorted James’ wife, who carried his ashes in an urn, to the Central Texas State Veteran Cemetery at Killeen, Texas, for the rendering of military honors and interment.

Waiting at the cemetery, were other Riders who formed a line of American flags around the committal shelter, while the final honors were rendered by an Air Force Honor Guard.

Taps was played by the Air Force Bugler.  The rifle detail fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country.  An American flag was followed into the traditional triangle and presented to James’ dear wife of 60 years on behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation for James‘ faithful and dedicated service.

The family and friends then gathered round as the urn was placed into a niche of the columbarium, James’ final resting place, as the American flag flew at half-staff on the hill above in his honor.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, a brother, four nephews, one niece and many dear friends.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

1 comment:

  1. My sincerest condolences to the family of James Gilbert Thompson who is happily in Heaven with Gilbert Thompson, Jane Shannon, and John Thompson and Margaret Gilbert, all his ancestors. I'll be praying for you all.