6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
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.