Gary Lee Thompson, of Tuscola, TX, passed away on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at the age of 83. He was born on August 30, 1939 to Robert and Eleanor Thompson in Houston Heights. He was baptized as a boy, beginning a life of earnest faith that was his distinguishing characteristic to all who knew him.
After graduation, he served in the Army Reserves in the 75th MAC in Houston, where an army buddy set him up on a blind date with the girl who would be the love of his life. Eight weeks later, on April 10, 1964, he married his wife Margaret, to whom he was devoted for 59 years. They made their home in Houston, where Gary worked for Southwestern Bell and AT&T, retiring after 25 years. He raised his children in the Christian faith, not only through his active participation in the church but by his steadfast example. During these years, he took the family on many vacations, continuing his parents' tradition of RV trips to Colorado, where he loved hiking, building campfires, and pointing out the constellations to his children. He loved trains, making a point of locating old depots in small towns. He enjoyed music as well, whether it was playing the guitar or harmonica or just whistling a lively tune.
After an early retirement, Gary went back to college. He applied himself to his studies with the same precision and vigor he applied to everything, graduating with honors with his bachelor's degree in theology from Tennessee Temple University. He was deeply devoted to learning the Scriptures, including learning Greek and translating the gospel of John. He minored in English and loved literature, including poetry. People around him learned to watch their grammar or else risk a humorous correction.
Gary and Margaret moved to Tuscola in 2001, where they enjoyed wide open spaces, hill vistas, and a slower pace of life that included gardening and sunset walks around the property. Gary looked forward to frequent visits from the grandchildren, to whom he was a devoted grandpa. After a long journey of theological discovery, Gary and Margaret found their home in the Catholic Church. They joined Holy Family Catholic Church, where they were active members for over 17 years, enjoying serving together in the church library (a fitting role for Gary), in RCIA, as Eucharistic ministers, and in the ministry to bereaved families, helping with funeral dinners.
To those who met him, Gary was a quiet, thoughtful, well-spoken man with a dignified demeanor that earned him respect. Beyond that reserved exterior, those who came to know him recognized a man of rare sensitivity, intense loyalty, devotion to God and his family, and unswerving integrity. To his wife and children, he was a protector who led humbly and loved deeply. To his grandchildren, he was a rock of reliability who provided a loving example of character and selflessness. To all, he was a true and faithful friend. Although our separation from him will be felt profoundly, he is united with his Savior Whom he loved.
Gary is survived by his wife Margaret, his son and daughter-in-law Douglas and Melissa Thompson, his daughter Pamela Thompson Baggett, his granddaughter Sarah Baggett and grandson William Baggett, his sister and brother-in-law Carol and Jerrell Wallace, his brother and sister-in-law Bill and Janean Thompson, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Eleanor Thompson, and his grandson John (Jack) Baggett.
A visitation and prayer service will be held at Elmwood Funeral Home on Thursday, April 15, at 6:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held Friday, June 16, at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Abilene, TX, with burial following at Elmwood Memorial Park.