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Gary Thompson

Gary Lynn Thompson

Sunday, October 19th, 1952 - Tuesday, January 12th, 2021
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Obituary

Gary Lynn Thompson died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan after a short battle with pancreatic cancer on January 12, 2021. He was 68 years old. Gary was raised at “Thompsonville” in East Grand Rapids as the 6th born of ten children..


Gary graduated from East Grand Rapids High School and then Michigan State University with a degree in engineering. At Michigan State, Gary met Gayle Fox. They married and raised three boys together, Andrew, Jack and Adam. Gayle and the boys reside in Raleigh, NC.


Gary would go on to become a successful executive at Nortel Networks with employment stints in North Carolina, Japan, and Michigan. After a successful career, he would later say “I thought it was a race and I won!”. He retired at age 48.


Gary was an avid golfer. He played on his high school team. After retirement he had a standing tee time at his country club and eventually moved his handicap down to a 4. Gary said that his career goal was to “never have to play golf on Saturday”. After his retirement, he went back to work as a part-time salesman for Golfsmith. Gary had a knack with giving a good golf tip which helped him sell golf clubs. A manager at Golfsmith would later announce that he was the number one salesman in golf club sales much to the chagrin of the full-time staff.


Gary loved music. He used to get up most mornings in high school and play “Boogie Woogie” on the family piano to start his day off. Throughout his life, Gary would have a music room where he would play. His passion for music was contagious and he loved performing for others. Keyboards were his favorite and in his last years, he spent hours every day immersed in music.


In Gary’s later life, he suffered from some struggles including addiction. This became a major hurdle for him impacting his relationships and quality of life. Our family’s hope is that Gary is in heaven with Mom and Dad, maybe even “teeing it up” again with Dad, who also was an accomplished golfer.


Gary lived his life with passion and as Frank Sinatra used to sing: “I Did It MY Way”. Gary is survived by Gayle, and his three sons, his six brothers and three sisters, and many nephews, nieces and others who loved him. His quick wit would make us all laugh at times. He is missed, and now can Rest in Peace.
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