Gilbert Leon Thompson, 93, of Simi Valley, CA, passed away peacefully at home on August 16, 2023. Graveside service and burial was held at Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, CA on Friday, September 1, 2023.
Gilbert was born in Cyril, Oklahoma, to Dollie Mae Thompson (née Robertson) and Coy Virgil Thompson in October 1929. He was the second oldest of 6 children. He graduated from Cement High School in 1947.
A few months after high school graduation, he entered the United States Air Force in the enlisted ranks, rising to the rank of Technical Sergeant, and earning a commission as Second Lieutenant upon graduation from Officers Candidate School in 1953. Subsequent duty included tours in Puerto Rico, Korea, and Germany. He also served two years in command of an Explosives Ordinance Detachment checking and clearing sites where POTUS was scheduled to appear. He completed many courses of training and was awarded a variety of commendations, stars, and medals during his 21 years of service before retiring from his military career honorably as a Major in July 1968.
After his retirement from USAF, he attended the University of New Mexico and graduated with his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1971. Education was very important to him and he continued his learning through adult education classes in Los Angeles, and even worked toward a Master’s degree at the University of Southern California.
Between 1971 and 1982, he managed a manufacturing operation for the world-wide Sprague Electric Company before he retired from his civilian career. He was not satisfied with retirement, however, and went back to work in 1984 for aerospace supplier Malabar International until he retired for his third and final time in 1998.
He moved around the western US several times with his wife Valerie and son Michael before settling in Simi Valley, CA, in 1987. He was a very active member of a few churches in Simi Valley - most notably, the Simi Valley United Methodist Church, Calvary Baptist Church of Simi Valley, and Calvary Chapel Simi Valley. He even led adult bible studies for many years at a couple of the churches. In addition to his faith, he enjoyed traveling around the United States in their RV, reading his Bible, reading political and legal thrillers, and completing puzzles and playing board games.
He is survived by his son, Kenneth Thompson (Linda) of Georgetown, TX; daughter-in-law Olga Thompson; grandchildren Sarah Thompson of Simi Valley, Jessica Dobbs (Glenn) of Farmers Branch, TX, Adam Roman (Jana) of Round Rock, TX, and John Roman (Sheldy) of Bend, OR; brother Daryl Thompson (Annette) of Lawton, OK; and sisters Judy Walpole of Rancho Cordova, CA, and Carol Lagassey of Tracy, CA; along with many cousins, nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife Valerie Mae Thompson, son Michael Dale Thompson, brother Doc Thompson, brother Bobby Thompson, and parents Coy Virgil Thompson and Dollie Mae Thompson.