On October 9, 2021, after spending his last days at home - laughing, talking, and feeling the immense love of his family, James “Jim” Bryant Thompson signed off on a life of "seventy-six wonderful years." During his last days, he felt the peace of his God, Jehovah, and a strong faith that he will be reunited with his family. Jim battled a brief illness with his family alongside and never wavered in his bravery, courage, and calmness. Jim was born January 2, 1945, to Mary Isabelle (Finley) Thompson and Bruce Bryant Thompson in Little Rock, Arkansas. The family moved to Oklahoma City, OK in 1954. His brother John Timothy and his parents preceded him in death and Jim considered it a privilege to care for all of them through their last days. His maternal grandmother in Little Rock, “Gran” (Mary Isabel Finley) was influential in his young life and his relationship with her was very special. He is survived by his three children: daughter Mary (husband - Gary “Skip”) Hutchins of Oklahoma City, son James “Boss” (wife - Stacy) Thompson of Oklahoma City, and daughter Jody Spain of Poplar Bluff, MO. He is survived by six grandchildren: Chevy, Dakota, Colton and Jackson Thompson of Oklahoma City and Nick and Marley Spain of Poplar Bluff, MO. He is also survived by his sister, Bebe Thompson (husband - Gary) Roberts of Edmond, OK and several nieces and nephews. He graduated from Putnam City High School in 1963 and enlisted in the Naval Reserve on Nov 18, 1963. He was assigned to the USS Thomaston (LSD-28) amphibious attack ship and crossed the Pacific Ocean six times in that ship and six times in aircraft. He completed three tours in the Vietnam War and received varied awards and medals. During that time, he was assigned to a special team called the Inshore Undersea Warfare Group One (IUWG-1) and received specialized Counter-Insurgency and Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training. During his time with the IUWG-1, he trained and worked alongside several members of the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team. Like many men who fought in the Vietnam War, he returned to the United States as a changed, disillusioned man. He spent some time fighting an internal, and sometimes external, war. Fortunately, during some of those colorful times, he made the acquaintance of a beautiful young girl from Enid, OK, by the name of Cheryl Hart. She was drawn to his adventurous spirit, wisdom of the natural world, and chivalrous protection of her - and the two became a team. They were married April 20, 1972 and were looking forward to celebrating fifty years of marriage in April 2022. During their early days together, they lived in a converted bus and traveled to parts of Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, and Arkansas. During this time, Jim learned several construction trades, including welding, and supported his young bride and growing family. Around 1975, they landed at the Flying W Ranch in Sheridan, Arkansas where he managed the red brahman ranch. In addition to managing the property and caring for the cattle, he and his family traveled to show the cattle. He won the Herdsman Award at the Houston Livestock Show in 1978. It was around this time that Jim and Cheryl became baptized believers in the Jehovah’s Witness faith, where they continue to be active. Their love and devotion to one another was remarkable. Up to the moment of his passing, they spoke to one another with tenderness and shared jokes, songs, and laughter. Growing up with Jim Thompson as a father made for very interesting moments for their three children. He was best known for pranks involving dynamite and airhorns, resting his eyes in his easy chair, and scraping every drop of ice cream out of his bowl - almost every night. As the firstborn child, Mary has vivid memories of living the “gypsy life”- she learned to walk as Jim and Cheryl rolled across the countryside in the bus. Her childhood was a warm and happy one full of adventure and it fostered a love of nature and the outdoors. To some, this is an unconventional start in life, but she loved every minute of it and still considers herself a gypsy at heart. She and her husband, Skip, moved to Oklahoma City in 2018 to be closer to her parents and enjoyed spending lots of time together in those last three years. His son Boss felt like his father taught him how to treat his own wife, as he saw his father treat his mother with such love and respect. He also taught him how to be a man, work with his hands and hunt, shoot guns, and fish. He is most thankful for the patience his father showed to him over the years and always reminding him that God was also patiently waiting for him to return to Him. His youngest daughter, Jody, loved being called “Scabby” by her dad - a nickname that was well-deserved, thanks to a childhood filled with outdoor fun and adventure that usually resulted in scraped knees. She was proud of her dad and loved to have his attention and approval. Helping to spoil and care for him in his final weeks has been one of her greatest privileges. He left her with a final lesson in gratitude as he spent each day in hospice care smiling and announcing to everyone at bedtime “we had such a wonderful day!” Jim worked tirelessly within the Jehovah’s Witness organization, he had many special appointments and duties on multiple projects and committees. He used his contracting talents to renovate and build multiple Kingdom Halls across many states. He was privileged to volunteer in temporary work at the US branch headquarters in New York City. He volunteered on the Hospital Liasion Committee for many years and was touched by the faith of friends and God’s power on the medical profession in the midst of a medical emergency. He and Cheryl participated in several disaster relief trips in the United States. He served as a full time minister and elder for over three decades and loved to share his faith with others. Over fifteen of those years were spent in a Vietnamese congregation in Oklahoma City. Jim worked and retired as a tile, marble and granite contractor. He was known as a very disciplined and profoundly talented contractor. To this day, his work remains in many commercial buildings and homes throughout Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. He was also a talented welder, fisherman, and hunter. He enjoyed scuba diving and loved to collect different knives and coins. He was known for his attention to detail in all things. If you knew Jim well, you know he would never be without a knife and a flash light and would prefer to not be without a fire extinguisher. He thrived on the fellowship of hundreds of friends, most of whom he considered to be brothers and sisters in his faith. Jim’s life will be celebrated and memorialized virtually on Sunday, October 17, 2021 at 4 pm. (Zoom meeting ID: 844 900 0250, Passcode: Jimbo) To share a memory of Jim or send a condolence to his family, please visit www.corbettfuneralhome.com/obituaries.
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