Memorable Manitobans: John Andrew “Jack” Thompson (1919-2005)
Born at Shoal Lake on 30 September 1919 to Bella Stewart (1887-1982) and Andrew Thompson (1890-1978), he completed his formal education there and helped support his family by working as a baker and an undertaker’s assistant. He joined the Canadian Forces in 1940 and served with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles for five years during the Second World War, attaining the rank of Sergeant. He fought in the D-Day invasion and in the Normandy liberation, and was wounded in action during the battle of Carpiquet Airport. Although modest about his military exploits, he received citations for initiative and bravery. In 2004, he attended the 60th anniversary celebrations of the liberation of Normandy and was awarded a Medal of Freedom by the Government of France.
After the war, he moved to Winnipeg, where he spent the rest of his life. He worked at Deer Lodge Hospital for 39 years, from 1945 until his retirement in 1984. He started working in the stores and later switched to the personnel department, where he was a personnel officer for many years. In 1951, he married Reita Joan Smith (1919-2013), whom he’d known in elementary school in Shoal Lake, and after settling in St. James, they went on to have one son. He was committed to serving his community, and sat on the Board of Directors of Deer Lodge Community Centre for more than 40 years, including a term as President. He also served on the Community Club Council of St. James, as well as the Recreation Commission, and was President of the Home and School Committee of Linwood Elementary School.
Baseball was his special passion. He coached minor baseball at St. James and later became President of the Greater Winnipeg Minor Baseball Association, President of Baseball Manitoba, and an executive member of Baseball Canada. He scouted for the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Later in life, he became known as the Voice of Baseball in Manitoba. Using his own equipment, he was the public address announcer at many Manitoba Junior Baseball League games and a number of national championship tournaments throughout the province. He received volunteer service awards from the City of Winnipeg and the Government of Canada, was named to the Honour Society of the Manitoba Baseball Association and, in 2004, inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame as a Builder.
He died at Winnipeg on 5 October 2005.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 October 2005.
Obituary [R. Joan Thompson], Winnipeg Free Press, 9 March 2013.
“John Andrew ‘Jack’ Thompson,” My Lewis and Associated Families Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 26 September 2022