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Willard Thompson

Willard Ivan Thompson U.S. Veteran

June 9, 1921 - August 16, 2010

Willard Ivan Thompson passed away Aug. 16, 2010, at his home in Parkdale, Ore., at the age of 89. He was born June 9, 1921, in Yukon, Okla., to Ollie and Mary (Martin) Thompson.
“Tommy,” as he would later be known, grew up helping his father on the family farm. It was there the seed was planted that would grow into a lifelong love of horses and the outdoors. He learned the joys of giving and sharing at an early age with his three brothers and four sisters and he credited his mother, Mary, with teaching him to embrace the whole human race, quoting her often, “We don’t choose our friends by the color of their eyes so why do it by the color of their skin?”
After graduating from Britton High School in 1941, Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Agnes Bernice Peterson. He joined the Merchant Marines and was shipboard when his first child, Deanna Jane, was born. Brothers Thomas Willard and Ashley Allen followed.
After the war, the family moved to California, where he worked as a concrete finisher. He went on to start his own concrete business and later expanded into general contracting.
Tommy moved to Florida in the late 1950s, where he earned his pilot’s license and started Dot Construction with his second wife, Dot.
In the 1960s he was off to Sun Valley, Idaho, where he started Construction 2000, building condominiums in the booming little ski resort. He and wife Barbara took up riding, once again making horses a part of his life.
After moving to Parkdale he continued to work as a builder in the Hood River Valley. He met Rose Wettengel in 1985; they married and shared 25 years in the home they built there together.
Tommy continued raising and training horses. He loved to ride; at the beach, in the mountains, and on the high desert. He especially enjoyed the trips he and Rose took to the canyon lands of Utah with their adventure-loving friends and beloved Peruvian Paso horses. He was often heard saying on the trail, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
He was active in both riding and service clubs; as a member of the Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon and as past president of the Pacific Crest Peruvian Horse Association.
Tommy loved to introduce people to riding. He may be remembered most fondly by the children and adults with whom he shared his love of horses and charming sense of humor.
Tommy is survived by his wife, Rose, of Parkdale, Ore.; three children: Deanna Jane Akerman and her husband, Bob, of Norman, Okla., Thomas Willard and his wife, Susan, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Ashley Allen and his wife, Katrin, of Cascade, Idaho; 12 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by sister Mildred Baker, of Britton, Okla., and brother Clinton, of Midwest City, Okla.
Surviving siblings are Helen Basey, of Britton, Okla., Estella Jordan, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, brother Robert, of Las Vegas, Nev., Jane Patterson, of Edmond, Okla., and brother Glenn, of Britton, Okla.
Tommy’s family invites you to join them in a celebration of his life at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, at the Thompson home, 4450 Culbertson Drive, Parkdale, Ore.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000.
Please visit www.andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of condolence for family.