Francis Arthur Thompson

Jul 16, 1926 – Aug 17, 2017

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Francis Arthur Thompson

July 16, 1926 to August 17, 2017 

Francis Arthur Thompson (Fran, Tommy, Buddy) was born July 16, 1926 in Marcus, South Dakota to Edwin and Anna Thompson (Brevik). He was the youngest of 11 children; Alton, Evelyn, Florence, Victor, Leland, Irvin, Clifford, Gladys, Ruth, and Rosalie. All preceded him in death. In 1934 the family moved to Forest City, Iowa.  A few years later, Fran's father moved back to South Dakota leaving the rest of the family in Iowa. In 1943, his sisters Ruth and Rosalie went to California, in search of a job in the Air Craft industry during the war. Excited with their new life, they convinced their mother, Anna to join them. Anna sold the house and moved  with Francis to California, near the Ocean. Anna later bought a house and walked to work at her job at Northrup Aircraft. 

Francis finished High School at Leuzinger High School in 1944. While in school, Francis started his journey working in the Aircraft Industry. After graduating, he joined the US Army Air Core and was stationed in various bases in the US until WW II was over in 1945. He was honorably discharged and returned to his family in California. He is considered part of "The Greatest Generation"

 He briefly worked for his brother Leland who owned a cleaning company. While making a delivery, he met a lovely young lady, Jo Ann Herrin. They were married in 1950. Francis returned to work in the Aircraft manufacturing an Douglas Aircraft. Mother was a bank cashier. They bought a small "bungalow" style house in Manhattan Beach, California. They both worked hard and paid the house off quickly before their children were born. They had 3 children: Larry (1953), Wayne (1955) and Gail (1959).  The family eventually moved to Washington state in 1962 where Francis worked for Boeing Aircraft until his retirement. Francis and Jo Ann purchased a home on the East hill in Kent in 1963. 

Larry followed his father's footsteps and in 1971 he joined the U.S. Air Force.  In 1972-1973 Francis and Jo Ann became foster parents for a fine young man Dan May who was a high school friend of Wayne. Dan has remained in contact with the family for over 40 years. Larry married in 1974 and had 2 children, Melinda and Marc. He divorced in 1977 and raised Marc as a single parent. 

 Francis was always in the garage building things for his family. He loved his tools. He and Jo Ann also developed a passion for depression-era glass collecting. Jo Ann passed away suddenly in 1982, after 32 years of marriage. In 1983, at a Boeing sponsored singles dance, Francis met Gretchen Martinson. They married in 1984 and remained married for 33 years until his passing. Gretchen had 2 adult children, Doug and Karen. Francis and Gretchen has a total of 6 children. 

 Larry remarried in 1988 to a lady with 3 small children (Eugene, Christine and Nicolle) they had an additional son, Blair. Gail married Steve Ells and they have 2 daughters, Christina and Jacquelyn.  Francis has 6 children, 8 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and one great-great grandson. Francis and Gretchen had many grand adventures in retirement including driving across the country, often with at least 1 if not more of his sisters with him. They drove to Alaska. The cruised through the Panama Canal. They had a lovely home on Duck Lake in Ocean Shores, WA for several years where they attended the Galilean Lutheran church regularly, assisted with the local food back and entertained family, friends. They eventually returned to King county to be closer to both family and medical care. Francis eventually required long term memory-care. Gretchen visited Francis regularly first in the Weatherly Inn in Covington WA and later at Archstone family homes in Renton, WA where he received tremendous care with dignity and respect. 

Francis Thompson is remembered as a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and a member of "The Greatest Generation". 


Rick and Marie Wienker
Kent , Wa
Aug 25, 2017

As Fran and Gretchen's part time next door neighbors at Ocean Shores, we always looked forward to seeing them when we got there. Spent many enjoyable hours standing at the fence that Fran built and talking about life, family, travel, the aircraft industry. Always enjoyed Fran's stories about his life and experiences. Will always remember those times. Fran, we know you are at peace with the Lord.

Sarah Pinho
Federal Way, Wa
Aug 25, 2017

I'm a friend of Marc's from Kent-Meridian high school. Thank you for this description of Francis's life for others who didn't know him personally to learn about him. He sounds like he was a great person who worked hard and led an interesting life. I'm sorry for your loss.

Marc David Thompson
Kendall, WA
Aug 24, 2017

Thanknuou grandpa for the many stories and some of the trips. The work shed will be a little quieter without your tinkering.

Gail Ells
Kent, WA
Aug 24, 2017

I Love you Daddy, I Will Miss You!!!

Jim Boylan, Jr
Spanaway , Wa
Aug 24, 2017

Another one of the Greatest, called home. Happy that he had a good long life with many friends and family.

Port Orchard, WA
Aug 24, 2017

Francis left a memory and a legacy with those left behind. Rest in peace, Francis. You were loved and valued.

Lawrance William Thompson
University Place, WA
Aug 24, 2017

Thank you dad for all that you were and all that you taught me. I was blessed to have such fine parents as you and mom and then Gretchen.

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