Robert “Bob” Henry Thompson was born on July 15th 1930 in Tupelo, Mississippi to Guy Vance Thompson and Mamie Talley Thompson of Corinth, Mississippi. He was the oldest of three children; Bob’s brother Dan of Greenwood, Mississippi, and sister Carol Anne of Corinth, Mississippi. Bob spent his youth between Tupelo, Mississippi; Selmer, Tennessee; and Corinth, Mississippi as the family relocated during the difficult years of the depression and WW2. Bob enjoyed sports growing up as well as lifeguarding at the community pool at Lidden Lake in the summertime.
He graduated from Corinth High School in 1948. He then attended Union University in Jackson, Tennessee on a sports scholarship playing basketball and football. He was a member of the ATO fraternity and graduated with a degree in Biology in 1953. Later, he went on to earn a master’s degree at Penn State University. While at Union University, he met and married Dorothy A. Carlson of Memphis, Tennessee. Together they had three children: daughter Toni A. Coffman of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, son Tom of San Diego, California, and son Robert Talley of Corinth, Mississippi. Dorothy passed away in 2003.
In 1953, Bob graduated from Union University and entered the United States Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant. Following The Basic School at Quantico Virginia he was sent to his first assignment as a Platoon Commander in Korea. Bob went on to have a distinguished 30 year career in the Marine Corps which included a Battalion Command (1st Battalion 5th Marines) during the TET Offensive in North Vietnam in 1968 where he earned the Navy’s second highest award, the Navy Cross, for extraordinary heroism during combat operations at Hue City. Other notable assignments included Recruit Battalion Commander and Recruit Regimental Commander at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, Director of the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Academy at Quantico, Virginia, Marine Officer Instructor at the University of Virginia, appointment to the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Commanding Officer of the 9th Marine Division, 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa.
In 1983, Bob retired at the rank of Colonel from the Marine Corps to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he entered the real estate business as a broker for Freeman & Freeman/Long & Foster Realty. He had a very successful second career helping to relocate countless Marines and their families from/to the Quantico area. Bob retired from his real estate work in 1998. Bob met Maria “Sue” McDonnell of Fredericksburg, Virginia while working at Long & Foster. Together, they had Bob’s youngest daughter Scarlet Rita Charlwood of Richmond, VA born in 1995. Scarlet is known as the “miracle baby” since she was just 2 lbs 13 oz when she was born. Maria “Sue” passed away in 2016.
In July of 1997, Bob married Nancy B. Vida of Fredericksburg Virginia, and gained a stepson Mark Zitz of New Castle, Delaware. Bob and Nancy have lived together happily for the past 23 years. Bob is survived by his wife Nancy, children Toni (husband Kevin), Tom (wife Prisana, children Gunnar and Boomer), son Robert (wife Grace, children Amanda and Ace), daughter Scarlet (husband Jacob), stepson Mark, sister Anne, along with many cherished nieces and nephews.
Bob was an active member of the community. He served as a member of the Rappahannock Rotary Club and as President of the club from 1996 to 1997; he was also named a Paul Harris Fellow. He loved to workout daily at the YMCA/American Family Fitness and golf whenever he could find the opportunity. He was an avid boating enthusiast and was “Captain” of his 26 ft Ericson sailboat. He even ventured into flying, achieving a private pilot’s license for multi-engine aircraft. Bob was known by all as servant of God, firmly committed to the principles of honor and integrity, a loving husband, brother, father, and grandfather, a loyal friend, and a United States Marine. Semper Fi.
Bob had a favorite poem which served as an inspiration to him throughout his life:
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!