Dennis Thompson

Dr. Dennis Gayle Thompson, age 75, of Caldwell, KS graduated to heaven on Monday, February 1, 2021 in Wichita, KS with his family close by. 

Dennis was a beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, who went out of his way to always help and be there for others.  

Dennis will be remembered as a man of faith who in recent years attended Central Christian Church in Caldwell, KS. Prior to that, he was an active member of Open Door United Methodist Church in Blue Eye, MO.   

He cherished spending time with family and friends as often as possible. Papa (as his grandkids affectionately called him) loved to travel and was able to visit all 50 states as well as cruise to several beautiful places with close friends. Some of his favorite places to travel included Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, the Caribbean and most recently the hill country in Texas. He was a competitive card and domino player with family as well as his friends at the local senior center (in Caldwell and Branson). He was a wheeler and dealer, often buying and selling cars and various property. (Just ask Gayle who came home from work to find out she was homeless and without a car. Not to worry, he quickly remedied the problem when he purchased a local motel for the family to live in.) He most recently took quite an interest in tiny homes and looked forward to living in one.  

Throughout his life, education was important to him. He was a proud Oklahoma State University alumnus who received his Bachelor of Science (Finance & General Business) in 1967, his Master of Science (Distributive Ed) in 1972 and his Doctorate in Education (Occup. & Adult Ed) in 1986, all from OSU. After graduation, Dennis was an accountant for the IRS, owned a local lumber yard in Boise City, OK before embarking on a career in education.  Throughout his tenure as an educator, he served as a Teacher, Assistant High School Principal, Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, Dean of Community Services at Garden City Community College and Dean of Education (Neosho County Community College - Ottawa) where he retired from education in 2002. Dr. Thompson was also very active in state and national adult and community education serving as President of KCEA and on the board of directors of NCEA. 

Once retired, he spent much of his time in Branson, MO where he frequented Silver Dollar City as well as attended local shows. He enjoyed the lake and could often be found wearing his sun hat while kayaking or boating on sunny days with friends and family. While in Branson, Dennis worked part-time as a tour guide (tram/kayak) for Dogwood Canyon as well as Contract Processor (BlueGreen) and Experience Representative (Trendwest). 

Dennis was born in Boise City, Oklahoma on September 12, 1945 to Raymond Author & Opal Ruth (Walton) Thompson. He graduated from Boise City High School in 1963. He is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Gary Thompson and Dean Thompson and his sister Raelene Strasburg as well as several nieces and nephews. 

Dennis is survived by his former wife, Gayle Thompson of Caldwell, KS, his son Shad (& Amanda) Thompson of Olathe, KS, his daughter Staci (& Shane) Schmidt of Caldwell, KS, six grandchildren: Jordyn Swift, Kaylee Thompson, Macy Thompson, Colt Schmidt, Steele Thompson & Cord Schmidt, three (soon to be four) great-grandchildren, two brothers Neal (& Ruby) Thompson of Perry, OK and Duane Thompson of Perry, OK and a host of nieces and nephews, all of which he dearly loved. 

He was known for his many crazy hats, his vast travels (often getting asked the question “where is Papa now”), his yummy root beer floats, smores by the fire pit on the deck, his love for bar-b-que, apple fritters, ice cream and carrot cake (even the ones that are missing part of the icing). 

A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at the Caldwell Community Building (119 East 1st Avenue, Caldwell, KS). It will be a short memorial service followed by fellowship and a meal together to celebrate Papa’s life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Caldwell Senior Center and sent in care of the mortuary.

 

 

Condolences

Heatbroken over the loss of your father. May your many happy memories be a blessing to each of you.

Sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. I am glad I was able to enjoy him at the Senior Center. We had a lot of fun playing Mexican Train, and he taught me to play Tik, now we are playit in a group wish he could be with us. Your family is in my prayers.

He was such a wonderful soul. I enjoyed seeing him everytime he visited our beautiful Hill Country. I'm so broken hearted at his passing. I was so thankful I got to spend a couple of hours vising with him just a few weeks ago, having tea & listening to life story. He was so thoughtful and kind, I will truly miss that huge smile & heart of his. Blessings to Shad, Stacey,vGayle and all of your family. I love you all.

I am sorry to hear about Dennis.
May God walk with your family and comfort you at this time . .Dennis was a very sweet and appreciative person.Continues prayers for the family.

Dennis was a good friend and former co worker. He made me laugh and I enjoyed his travel stories. I will miss him.

Dennis was a great neighbor who would always give a helping hand and new a lot about table rock lake area. He was a good friend at Big Bear resort in Branson Missouri. He will be missed.

We met Dennis on vacation in Fl said we were going to Branson and he met us there and made my 70th birthday the best ever taking us in his boat on Table Rock Lake, inviting us to his home, getting us tickets for Jonah, the Showboat, Silver dollar city, he even had lunch with us at Big Cedar Lodge. Sorry he was unabe to visit us in Fl. We will never forget him.

I knew Dennis as a colleague serving on the National Community Education Association Board of Directors for several years in the 1990’s. He was a very knowledgeable, articulate colleague that attended the board meetings, well prepared. He was an affable, well liked board member and leader among the Community Educators across the country. He will truly be missed by those he had touched in the profession. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to get to know Dennis, and to have served with him on the NCEA Board. With Deepest Sympathies,
Don Kramlinger, 1994 NCEA President and Board member

I knew Dennis through Community Education. He led a full life and was gone too soon. May his memory live on through his family and friends.

Several years ago at the end of a National Community Education conference in San Diego, Dennis and three women friends from Minnesota (Sally, Karen and myself) decided to drive to Laguna Beach for dinner at Las Brisas restaurant. I think I was driving. Dennis was in the backseat. 

There was a point where he said "I have one very important rule for this ride. We must be out of the car to watch the sunset." We thought it was a great idea so he tracked the time and we found a beach where we could pull over. We got out of the car and enjoyed a perfect sunset. 

The three of us have followed that rule ever since. Maybe it is part of his legacy. Rest in peace in the sunset, Dennis. 

My Mom, Lois Barnes and I will certainly miss Dennis.  He was a great guy and we always enjoyed seeing him.  He spent time in La Floresta RV Park in Mercedes, Texas and enjoyed meeting all the Winter Texans.  At the park, he wouldn’t miss a Mexican Train domino game.  We offer our heartfelt condolences.

 

 

Gayle and Staci I'm so sorry for the loss of your ex-husband and your dad I did not know him but I know you Gayle and Staci and I really am sorry for your loss keeping you and your family in my prayers