JOPLIN, MO —
Harold Leonard Thompson, age 86, passed away on Oct. 8, 2012, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Joplin, on March 21, 1926, son of the late Alvin and Gertrude Thompson. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1944, and served two years in the Navy. After his service, he attended Joplin Junior College from 1946 to 1948. He went on to graduate from Southwest Missouri State College (now Missouri State University) with a bachelor's degree in education and from Kansas State College of Pittsburg (now Pittsburg State University) with a master's degree in education.
Harold taught at Commerce High School in 1950, and returned to Joplin in 1951, to teach for the Joplin R-8 School District. During his 35-year tenure, he served as a coach and physical education instructor at South Junior High from 1951 to 1956, at East Junior High from 1956 to 1964, and at North Junior High from 1964 to 1967. Harold was assistant principal at South Junior High from 1967 to 1971, and principal at East Junior High from 1971 to 1976. Harold also coached the tennis team at Joplin High School in 1968, and at Memorial High School from 1969 to 1971. From 1976 to 1986, he served as athletic director for the school district. After his retirement, Harold served for two years as athletic director and physical education instructor at College Heights Christian School.
A life-long sports enthusiast, Harold started the Golf and Tennis Summer Program for the City of Joplin in 1955. For 20 years, he shared his love of these two sports, giving lessons to countless adults and teenagers throughout the Joplin area. In 1986, Harold was inducted into the Joplin Golf Hall of Fame and in 2006, he was inducted into the Joplin Sports Hall of Fame.
Harold attended Forest Park Baptist Church for many years, serving as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. For the last 22 years, Harold was a member and deacon at First Baptist Church, of Webb City.
Harold spent his life teaching and coaching. He will be remembered for his contagious grin, his great golf tips and for sharing his love of sports with his family, friends and the Joplin community.
On March 4, 1949, Harold married Betty Stokes and spent the next 63 years by her side. She survives.
Harold is also survived by a sister, Janet Abram and her husband, Wilbert, of Lee Summit; two daughters, Beth Routledge and her husband, Dan and Kathy Adams and her husband, Jim; and one son, Chuck Thompson and his wife, Janet, all of Joplin; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. In addition to his parents, a sister, Dora Thomas; and a brother, David Thompson, preceded Harold in death.
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, of Webb City. A funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church, of Webb City, on Friday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. Revs. Bob Easton and Ron Woody will officiate. Harold's six grandsons, Stefan Adams, Jed Adams, Clay Routledge, Chris Routledge, Tyler Thompson and Drew Thompson, will serve as pallbearers. A private family graveside service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Omega Hospice, 2041 South Stewart, Springfield, MO 65804.
Online condolences may be made at www.parkermortuary.com