Dr. William Y. Thompson ’44

Dr. Thompson died Friday, April 12th, 2013,  at St. Francis Hospital in Monroe.

Dr. Thompson was born in Baton Rouge, LA, the son of a Presbyterian minister. He was educated in the public schools of Bristol, TN, and Stony Brook Preparatory School, Long Island, NY. He received a BA from the University of Alabama, an MA from Emory University, and a PhD in American History from the University of North Carolina.

During World War II, he flew 50 combat missions over southern Europe as a bombardier on a B-24 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He remained in the Air Force Reserve and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was very proud to have served his country.

Dr. Thompson taught at Louisiana Tech University from 1955 to 1988 during which time he was head of the History Department for 23 years. At his retirement, he was designated Professor Emeritus.

During his academic career, Dr. Thompson wrote three scholarly and well-received books. One of these, Robert Toombs of Georgia, is now in paperback. He received the Alumni Foundation Professorship Award from Tech in 1980 and in 1982 was named the Outstanding College Professor of American History in Louisiana by the Daughters of the American Revolution. He also held the Garnie W. McGinty Chair of History and served as president of the Louisiana Historical Association.

For several years Dr. Thompson wrote a column for the Monroe News-Star entitled “As I Remember.”

His former wife, Helen McCarley Thompson and great-grandson, Henry Garrett Lewis, preceded Dr. Thompson in death. He is survived by his wife, Marie Meade Thompson; daughter and son-in-law, Sherard and Dr. Robert Lewis of Little Rock, AR; son, Richard Thompson and wife Kim of Houston, TX; step-daughter, Dawn Meade of Houston, TX; step-son, Don Meade of Shreveport, LA; four grandchildren, Elizabeth and husband Dr. Brent James, Rebekah Lewis, Dr. Garrett and Amelia Lewis, and Mason and Kati Beth Lewis, all of Little Rock, AR. Dr. Thompson has three great-grandchildren, Drew and Maggie James and Bennett Lewis.