Elba G. Thompson

It is with great sadness I report the death of my father, Mr. Elba G. Thompson, at the age of 95yrs. and nine months.

A native of Clarke County (Carmichael area), Dad passed away peacefully at our home in Georgiana, Al. around 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning Feb. 24, 2019. He had lived in the Mobile, AL, area for 65 years, the last 40 of which were in Semmes, AL.

He was preceded by his parents; Albert McCall Thompson and Onie E. Broadway; all seven of his siblings; his wife of 64 years, Neva N. “Baby” Kemp; and his oldest son Dan Thompson.

He is survived by his younger son, Jerry G. Thompson (Cheri); his daughter- in- law Irene Burgess (Randy); four grandchildren, Joshua Thompson (Stephanie), Jessica Tyler (Todd), Jason Thompson, Jennifer Carlee; and seven great grandchildren, Will Thompson, Stella and Luna Tyler, Braylon and Cooper Carlee, Haven and Daxon Thompson; along with 11 nieces and nephews and other relatives.

Dad was a member of America’s “Greatest Generation”. As far as we know he may have been the last surviving member of “The Junction Boys” of the Carmichael Area.

Dad had come of age during the Great Depression and graduated from Carmichael School in 1943, drafted before graduation. He entered the Army at Camp Shelby in MS that same July and assigned to the Army Air Corps. Dad completed basic training at Keesler A.F. base in Biloxi, Ms. After basic training he attended other training schools in Florida, South Carolina, Texas, and California. He spent time in Hawaii before making his way to the battle zones of the Pacific.

His official title was Aerial Gunner/Engineer on a B-25 Bomber and had reached the rank of Technical Sergeant. Numerous combat missions later, Dad’s plane was shot down over the South China Sea; he was injured in that crash. For his service he was awarded numerous ribbons and medals, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

After war’s end, Dad returned to his beloved Clarke County. He never stopped talking about Clarke County and its people.

Dad was nearly seven years older than Mama and could remember the day she was born.

They enjoyed an 82 year relationship. When she was just 13 she walked over to the Thompson house and “told” Daddy, “Elba, when you get back from the war, we are going to get married.” And as stated earlier, a marriage that lasted 64 years, until her death in 2012. Dad was not the same after Mama’s passing. Thus began a very slow downward spiral that would include dementia and short term memory loss.

Growing up, my brother and I were taught many life lessons- how to treat people, respect for others, right from wrong, how to deal with life’s ups and downs.

I always thought there was nothing that Daddy could not do at any given moment. He was a mechanic, electrician, welder, plumber, carpenter, HVAC, refrigeration. I wish I had a tenth of his knowledge!

As Dad got older, our rolls began to reverse. Instead of me calling him with a problem, he began to call me. As his health began to decline more and more, he seemed to slip into another world. He sort of became “stuck” in the 1940s and 1950s. He had clear memories of 90 years ago, but could not remember taking his medicine 90 seconds ago.

One day, I said, “Dad, I’ve been told to just agree with you no matter what you say.” He said: “Boy, you’ve never lied to me, so don’t start now.”

I had moved into their home in 2011 and was there for seven years, before bringing him to our home. Dad was truly a grand story teller, it didn’t make any difference the subject matter, Dad would make it come ALIVE. Time and space does not permit all that could (should) be said.

Daddy, the World War II nightmares are over and the victory has been won.

In countless situations, Dad would stand up, salute, and sing the Air Force Song…...so we say, “off you go Dad, into the Wild Blue Yonder.” Fly High Daddy, Fly High.

You will forever dwell in our hearts and lives. I am so proud to have called you Dad for nearly 64 years.

He was buried March 3, 2019, at Andrews Chapel in Carmichael.