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Walter Thomas "Walt" Thompson

June 23, 1918 July 12, 2011
Walter Thomas "Walt" Thompson
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Obituary for Walter Thomas "Walt" Thompson
Walter Thomas Thompson Walter Thomas “Walt” Thompson, 93, passed away peacefully on the morning of July 12, 2011. Walt was born June 23, 1918 to Edon and Nellie Seekstrom Thompson in Coronation, Alberta, Canada. His parents homesteaded on the prairie there. He moved with his family to Corvallis, OR in 1922 and graduated from Corvallis High School in 1937. Walt graduated from Oregon State University in 1942 with a Bachelors Degree in Forestry. He valued education very much and enjoyed attending many class reunions. He married his childhood sweetheart Iva Putman on September 24, 1941 and they enjoyed 67 years of marriage. Almost immediately upon graduation Walt started sawmilling. He first owned a mill in the Eugene then one near Cottage Grove. In 1951 he moved to Harbor where he built and ran Thompson Brothers Lumber Company on the site where Driftwood RV is now. In 1966, when it became more difficult to get good logs, he sold the mill at auction and began to develop the RV Park. He also built and developed Driftwood Estates. Walt’s businesses include ownership of Driftwood LLC, Driftwood RV, Driftwood Estates and Driftwood Tack and Western Wear. He continued working at Driftwood Tack and was working on that as recently as the Thursday before his passing. He loved to have people come in visit. He loved a good party and had large celebrations for his 70th, 80th and 90th birthdays and his 50th and 60th anniversaries. The last years he had large parties on his 91st, 92nd and 93rd birthdays because he said after you turn 90 you should celebrate each year because you don’t know how many more birthdays you are going to have. For his 93rd birthday he hosted a chicken bar-b-que with well over 100 guests and live music. Almost every day in recent years he stopped by McDonalds’s on his way to work for coffee and a visit and went to the Senior Center for lunch. Walt enjoyed raising and showing Arabian horses and at one time had as many as 30 horses on his property. He owned his horses as Driftwood Retreat Arabians. Walt attended the Brookings Church of the Nazarene. He was a 50 year member of Sidney Croft Masonic Lodge, a member of the Chetco Shrine Club and the Brookings Elks Lodge. He was active in local Republican politics and served for many years on the Curry County Republican Central Committee. He and his wife Iva were honored to be Azalea Festival Pioneer Citizens and Grand Marshals of the Curry County Fair and Azalea Festival. He served on the Harbor Sanitary District Board of Directors, is a past president of the Oregon Coast Association and the Brookings-Harbor Merchant’s Association. Walt enjoyed local history. He served on the Curry County Historical Society Board of Directors and was recently featured on the local Coastal Connections show on KCBS Channel 9. He spoke about local history at a fundraiser for Southwestern Oregon Community College. He and Iva were also featured in Walt Schroder’s Walt is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Betty and Ed Bishop, son Roger Thompson and daughter and son-in-law Janet and Randy Gerlach all of Brookings and daughter and son-in-law Sue Thompson and Greg Hager on Scio, Oregon and grandchildren Debbie Coran of DeKalb, IL, Rick Brooks, Kellogg, ID, Tami Doig of Chicago, Molly Wallace, Amy Garnier of Brookings, Eric Thompson of Washington, Tiffany Wann of Medford, Chelsea Harms of Brookings, Sarah Bell of Salem, Matt Gerlach of Portland and Cameron Bell of Scio and 22 great-grandchildren. Walt was preceded in death by his wife Iva in 2007, his infant daughter Gloria, brothers and sisters and great-granddaughter Katelyn Wallace. Memorial contributions may be made to the Brookings-Harbor Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 7673, Brookings, OR 97415. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 4:00pm at the Brookings Church of the Nazarene, 1200 Chetco Ave. Pastor Rick Green will officiate. A graveside service will follow at W. J. Ward Memorial Cemetery. Following that, a reception will be held at the Driftwood Estates Clubhouse.
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