William Henry "Bill" Thompson Jr.
1932 - 2011
Bill Thompson, Jr. (center) and
son Bill III, wife Elsa, daughter Laura and son Andy
The birding community has lost a great friend. Bill Thompson, co-founder of Bird Watcher's Digest died after a very brief illness on January 25, 2011. He leaves behind his wife Elsa, three children and six grandchildren.
It somehow seems appropriate that I learned of his death while birding in the Everglades. As I watched 6,000 Tree Swallows dive and swoop in massive clouds of avian magic, I thought they must be Bill's welcoming reception to heaven.
Bill and Elsa have visited us here in Naples, Florida on more than one occasion and I have had the pleasure of attending a party they threw at their home in Marietta, Ohio for the directors of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. (Elsa Thompson and I both served on the board of this Jamestown, New York organization for a number of years.)
I remember a party my wife Roz and I had at our home a few years ago. Bill and Elsa were extremely friendly and outgoing. Bill's stories of his wild adventures as a jazz musician, the story of their courtship (he proposed on the first date!), the advice he and Elsa recieved from Roger Tory Peterson and the family effort of publishing issue #1 of Bird Watcher's Digest from their living enthralled us all. And by us, I mean Kenn and Kim Kaufman, Don and Lillian Stokes, Jerry and Bette Jackson, John Rappole as well as Jim Berry and the directors of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. It was a night I will never forget.
We will miss you Bill.
by Peter W. Thayer, President
Thayer Birding Software
Marietta Times #1
Marietta Times #2
The BWD Story