The Rt. Rev. John L. Thompson, retired bishop of Northern California, died on Sunday, May 2, 2004. He was 77 years old. A memorial service was held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Medford, Oregon on Saturday, May 8. Services will also be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, California and Christ Church, Eureka, California.
John Thompson was born May 11, 1926 in Youngstown, Ohio. He graduated from Youngstown University in 1948 and Episcopal Theological School in 1951. Also in 1951, Thompson married Shirley A. Scott.
Thompson was ordained to the diaconate on June 16, 1951 and to the priesthood on December 21 of that year. He served as curate of St. Mark's in Toledo, Ohio from 1951-1953, as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, Oregon from 1953-1960 and then as rector of Christ Church, Eureka, California from 1960-1978. In 1978, Thompson was consecrated bishop coadjutor of Northern California. He served as bishop of the diocese from 1978 until his retirement in 1992. Bishop Thompson was also a former trustee of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
In a statement for the Diocese of Northern California, Bishop Jerry Lamb said, "Everyone in this diocese is touched and blessed by the ministry of Bishop Thompson. Some of us were ordained by Bishop Thompson. Others experienced his ministry as a bishop that was marked by kindness and gentleness. I will miss a friend and mentor."
Bishop Thompson is survived by his wife, Shirley; his daughter, Amanda Thompson of Medford, Oregon; his son, Ian Thompson of Vacaville, California; his brother, Richard Thompson; and one grandson.