RICHARD THOMPSON BIOGRAPHY
Dick Thompson was born on September 14, 1940, in Riverside, IL, to Ray and Alice Thompson as an only child. Longetivity ran in Dick's family with his mother passing at the age of 93 and his father passing only 7 years ago at the age of 100. After graduating from Riverside High School in 1958, Dick obtained his undergraduate degree in physics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN, in 1962 and went on to earn his PhD in physics at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH.
Dick met his first wife, Virginia Kapo, at Case Western Reserve where she received her masters' degree in biology and his oldest daughter, Cybele, was born in Cleveland in 1967, the same year Dick received his PhD.
Immediately upon graduation, the new family moved to Gainesville, FL, where Dick taught physics and calculus at the University of Florida and the couple gave birth to their second child, Rich Thompson, in 1969.
Dick was then offered a position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM, which is one of two laboratories in the U.S. where classified work towards the design of nuclear weapons is undertaken and the laboratory is birthplace to the infamous Manhattan Project from World War II.
While at the laboratory, Dick authored several published scientific treatises including " Simple Model for the Bremsstrahlung Process", "One-Pion-Exchange-Current Contribution to Neutron-Proton Bremsstrahlung", and "Relativistic Calculation of Nucleon-Nucleon Phase Parameters". We have copies if anyone can tell us what they mean!
Dick subsequently taught physics and calculus at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and landed in Maryland as a physicist working for NASA in the mid-70s.
It was at NASA that Dick met MaryAnne Coakley, his second wife, whom he married in 1977 and they were together for over 30 years. Dick's third child, Mike Thompson, was born in 1979 and his fourth child, Sarah Iriarte, was born in 1984.
Dick finished his career with over 20 years spent at the Central Intelligence Agency where his work was generally classified. However, we do know that he worked on a team of 4 men who developed the first GPS system used by the CIA to surveil suspects and which system was the predecessor to all the GPS systems we see in commercial use today.
While at the CIA, Dick earned a number of awards which were classified and referenced "Leadership on Projects of Significance", which will remain a mystery as to their exact nature.
More recently, Dick was proud to be a grandfather to Gabe and Maia Thompson, twins born to Rich Thompson in 2000, and to Waverly Iriarte, born to Sarah Iriarte in 2007.
Dick's hobbies included hiking, four wheeling in the mountains of Colorado, trains, and driving tours of the United States.
Dick attended his 40th reunion at Rose-Hulman Institute in 2002 and bought a t-shirt from the school at that time. For the following 10 years, he was known to either wear his Rose-Hulman t-shirt or his Marines t-shirt which he bought during his son, Mike's, enlistment. If you look at photos of him in the last 10 years, he is always wearing one of those shirts.
Dick lived in San Diego for the past year and suffered a long illness, featuring dementia and Parkinson's disease, over the past five years which drew his four children together in a joint effort to care for him and bring him comfort in his final days. At the young age of 72, Dick passed on to his next adventure on March 16, 2013, and will be dearly missed by everyone whose lives he touched. In his multiple visits to San Diego over the years, he made many friends locally who will also miss his company.