Life Story / Obituary
There was nothing ordinary about Edwin “Ed” Paul Thompson Sr. Driven, determined, and devoted, he lived his life to the fullest. An avid fisherman, he enjoyed many years pan fishing for perch, bluegill, and bass. Born with a natural ear for music, he enjoyed playing the guitar as well as singing his favorite Hank Williams', Snow Williams', Patsy Kline, and Loretta Lynn songs.
Taught to play at a young age by his stepfather, he generously passed this knowledge down his son, Ed Jr. No one ever had to question Ed’s deep love for his family. Nothing brought him greater joy and satisfaction than being a father. His strong work ethic and his wonderful sense of humor will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
With banks still closing as a result of the Great Depression, the promise of a new election year waiting, and during the midst of one of the greatest droughts in American history, Edwin Clayton and Mabel Frandsen Thompson welcomed home their newborn son, Edwin on May 10, 1932, in Big Rapids, Michigan. Born the youngest of five children, his birth brought light into an era of hard times.
Growing up, his father worked in a creamery and his mother was a homemaker paving for Ed a lifetime of respecting the hard work it took to raise a family. He attended Lutheran school in Big Rapids before he moved to Grand Rapids at the tender age of nine. It was here that he attended public schools and met his lifelong friend, Dale List before leaving Union High School after tenth
grade. Ed’s love of his country motivated him to join the United States Army at the start of the Korean War. Proudly serving four years he worked as a combat engineer during his deployment in Korea.
After returning from the war, he met Shirley Reed who was working as a waitress in a restaurant in Grand Rapids. Smitten from the start, the two of them joined in marriage in a small ceremony on July 18, 1953. Moving from their first apartment on Summer Street to Hastings Street before building their own home in 1957 on 9 Mile where together they raised three wonderful children;
Edwin Jr., Kathy, and Marceia. As a family they enjoyed many vacations to their property on Orchard Lake before later, Ed built a cottage on Muskellunge Lake spending countless summer days fishing, boating, and swimming. In addition to these trips, Ed also enjoyed traveling to California to visit his sister, Vivian and made wonderful memories touring Niagara Falls.
By 1976, he and Shirley had divorced and Ed fell into his work as a talented builder and carpenter. He spent a remarkable forty-two years as a manager with Edge Saw, now known as Esco, a successful machine manufacturing company. Ed’s ingenuity and self-motivation were valuable during his time there where he was known to have several registered patents. Over the course of his lifetime, he helped several family members and close friends with their home additions and building projects. He found great joy in sharing his love of carpentry and his rich skill set with so many over the years. Ed even helped his son, Ed Jr. to build his own home. As luck would have it, one night roughly eighteen years ago, Ed would meet his forever companion and partner in crime, Ina Tiffany! She asked him to dance and the rest is history!
With a genuine love of spending time with one another a d their growing family, they treasured each other’s company and embraced all of life’s richest blessings together. When they weren’t entertaining their grandchildren either here in Michigan or in Florida, Ed made time for events at the Creston VFW Post. He took great pride in keeping up with all of the current events and loved to strike up a conversation regarding just about anything! His peculiar sense of humor could keep everyone in stitches! A curious person by nature, Ed fed his knowledge seeking mind with anything scientific to read or to watch on TV. He loved National Geographic and the
Discovery Channel as well as solving the mysteries on Law & Order and Blue Bloods. For some good old fashioned military humor, he savored M*A*S*H reruns! Ed’s favorite foods were strawberry shortcake, potatoes, popcorn, fresh squeezed Orange Juice, and any Michigan produce, especially blueberries! He will be remembered as a loving and supportive father, deep thinker, and pure gentleman. His unconditional love will be forever treasured as his greatest gift to his special friends and loved ones.
Mr. Edwin P. Thompson, aged 85, passed away on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at Spectrum Health – Butterworth after suffering and battling cancer for several years. He was born in Big Rapids, MI on May 10, 1932, to Edwin Clayton Thompson and Mabel Frandsen. Ed was a strong, hardworking self-made man. He loved his family and he was an honest man. He was a Korean War Veteran serving in the US Army. Ed worked for 42 years at Esco and retired in 1998. Ed in his early years enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing guitars. In his later years, he continued his love for guitar and music. He is survived by his loving companion and friend, Ina M. Tiffany; his children, Edwin P. (Onna) Thompson Jr. and Kathleen S. Weigel; 7 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild on the way; his sister Vivian Mattuicci. Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Adele Thompson, his daughter, Marceia Thompson, son-in-law John Weigel Jr., great grandson, Avary Fales; his parents, Edwin C. Thompson and Mabel Frandsen; brother, William F. Thompson; sisters, Betty Harvey and Lucille Smiegel. A service to celebrate Ed’s life will be held on Thursday, September 14th at 2:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery, 0-50 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Relatives and friends may meet his family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm and again on Thursday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Contributions in his memory may be made to Van Andel Institute for Cancer Research. To leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com