Lewis O.'s Story
Lewis “Lew” Odell Thompson, Jr., of Newburyport, passed away on September 15, 2017, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers after a strong battle of a few short weeks against esophageal cancer.
Lewis was born on November 4, 1936, in Marion, Ohio, as the only child to Jeanne and Odell Thompson and died just shy of his 81st birthday. Lewis grew up in the mid-west and had fond memories playing with cousins on the farm, fishing on Lake Erie with his father, Lewis “Odell” Thompson, Sr., and developing a love of competitive tennis starting in high school and continuing through a local senior tennis group. He graduated Harding High School in 1954, and received a BS degree from Miami University of Ohio, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and received an MBA at Western New England College.
After college Lewis served in the United States Navy as a lead Journalist 3rd Class and attended the Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. Upon transfer from Boston Naval headquarters to Norfolk, Va., he served aboard the U.S.S. Independence aircraft carrier which was notably the fourth and final member of the Forrestal class of conventionally powered supercarriers. Called on by President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S.S. Independence was the key participant in the U.S. naval blockade and remembered as the lead ship in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Lewis was responsible for publishing on-ship newsletters and was instrumental in establishing one of the first closed circuit broadcast stations for aircraft crew members. He was very proud of his service to his country which was evident by his ever-present Navy embroidered baseball cap.
After the Navy, Lewis established a career in marketing/advertising for global companies including General Electric, Martin Marietta, EG&G, American Optical, Norton, Honeywell and work involving United States Defense contracts. Lew was also recognized as past president of the local Lions Club International chapter and a longstanding member of the Masonic Lodge of Massachusetts. At the end of his career, Lewis enjoyed teaching students within the business course curriculum at Northeastern University, and fond of substitute teaching at local high schools.
While stationed in Boston he met and is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, CaroleAnn (Nickles) Thompson of Newburyport; also survived by his daughter, Dr. Candace Thompson, and grandson, Elliott of Gloucester; and his son, Randall Thompson, daughter-in-law, Sharon (Elliott) Thompson, and grandsons, Deckard and Stirling of Danville, N.H.
A unique soul, Lew was very personable, loved to tell funny stories, and made friends wherever he traveled. As an avid Boston sports fan he closely followed the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox, tennis matches, golf, and sailing, but maintained a never ending special interest for all “Buckeye” games (Ohio State Football). His one-of-a-kind humor and contagious laughter will be greatly missed. Lew could often be found watching game shows, heard whistling his favorite tunes, and talking at length about his three grandsons.
The family would like to express our thanks for the wonderful aid and care given by the staff of Kaplan Family Hospice House of Danvers. If desired, friends may make memorial contributions to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or CareDimensions.org /Kaplan Family Hospice House. Celebration or birthday cards, in lieu of sympathy cards, may be sent directly to the family or to P.O. Box 765, Rockport, MA 01966.
If you would like to attend the Celebration of Life ceremony for Lewis, please join the family on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2017, during the hours of 2 to 6 p.m., ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m. at Vasa, 175 Bridge Road, Salisbury, MA 01912, www.vasawaterfront.com.
Published on  September 26, 2017