Distinguished Alumnus Louis M. Thompson, Jr., ’61, passes


Louis M. Thompson, Jr. died as he lived, making his final travel arrangements on Friday, March 25, 2016. Born September 21, 1938 in College Station, Texas to Louis M. and Margaret Stromberg Thompson, he spent most of his youth in Ames, Iowa where he graduated from high school. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Journalism at Iowa State University in 1961 and 1969, respectively. He was a career officer in the United States Army from 1969 until 1975. He served in Korea, in Vietnam and at the Pentagon.

He served in the White House as Assistant Press Secretary to President Gerald R. Ford. From there, he launched the communications program for the American Enterprise Institute and was Senior Vice President for communications, economics and publications for the National Association of Home Builders. He became President and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute until his retirement in 2006. In retirement he was an active consultant to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and served on the New York Stock Exchange Individual Investor Advisor Committee. He was a contributor to Haymarket Media’s Compliance Weekly.

He served as Chairman of the Advisory Council for Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. In 2001, Lou received the highest award conferred by the Greenlee School, the James W. Schwartz Award for distinguished service to journalism and communication. He was an adjunct lecturer in communication studies at Germanna Community College. In 2009 Lou was elected to a four-year term on the Orange County School Board. He also served on the Orange County Education Foundation, a cause he felt very deeply about.

An avid equestrian and breeder of Hanoverian horses, he was president of the American Hanoverian Society, serving from 1987 through 1993. During this time he oversaw the reciprocal agreement between the German Hanoverian Verband and AHS that enabled the AHS to assume full responsibility as the HV’s successor organization in the United States. Lou loved horses and children. He loved travel, great friends, great food, great wine, a game of golf, fishing, and trips to Iowa to hunt pheasant with his brother and friends.

He is survived by his brother, Jerome (Gretchen) Thompson; and sisters, Ann (Newt) Trail, and Carolyn T. Abbott. He was married and divorced to Anne Strand Thompson and to Laura Russell Thompson, and is survived by seven children, Louis M. (Kathleen) Thompson III of Richmond, Va., Eric Thompson of Springfield, Va., Chris (Margaret) Thompson of Richmond, Va., Meg (Dave) Weigel of Jacksonville, Fla., Beth (Joe) Ranucci of Jacksonville, Fla., Emily (Tyler) Huband of Richmond, Va., and Helen Thompson of Orange, Va. He was the proud grandfather of eleven.

Memorial Services will be held at Preddy Funeral Home, 250 W Main St, Orange, VA 22960, Phone: (540) 672-3611 on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 with a visitation from 9:30 until 11 a.m. and the funeral at 11 a.m. with the Reverend John Reid officiating. There will be a graveside ceremony following the funeral, after which a reception will be held at The Arts Center In Orange, 129 East Main Street, Orange, Va.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Lou’s honor to the Orange County Education Foundation, 200 Dailey Drive, Orange, VA 22960.