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Wesley C. Thompson during his military service. Photo courtesy of Princeton Union-Eagle.

Wesley C. Thompson during his military service. Photo courtesy of Princeton Union-Eagle.

Remembering Wesley C. Thompson

Wesley C. Thompson, 94, of Princeton, Minnesota, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, Navy veteran, hunter, trapper, farmer, wildlife conservationist, federal game warden and aide to the handicapped, died Dec. 5, 2015, in St. Cloud.
 Wesley was born to John and Inga Thompson Oct. 28, 1921, in Blue Hill Township, rural Princeton.

He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife of 68 years, Floy; daughters Karen (Dave) Baker, Donna Cook, Marcia (Daryl) Rehbine, and Lisa (Brad) Ekstrom; sons Thomas (Brenda) and John; 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
 He was preceded in death by son Curtis Wesley, parents John and Inga, and brothers and sisters John Eldore, Beryl, Richard, Roger, Glen and Jordis.

Wesley lived a long and exciting life. After growing up on the family farm he enlisted in the Navy in 1942. Aboard the USS Bull, he rose to the rank of chief machinist’s mate. His ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean 12 times as it escorted troop ships and went after German subs. Later the Bull went through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean as an attack patrol ship bringing frogmen to clear the beaches for the Marines to attack. He earned three battle stars in World War II for the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

After the war he came home, met and married Floy Miller, and farmed and raised a family in Blue Hill Township. He worked the dairy farm for 20 years. In the mid-1960s Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge was formed as 30,000 acres were purchased, including many farms and property in Blue Hill Township.

The refuge offered a job to Wesley, he accepted and that launched a new career as a maintenance foreman, a job he would hold for 21 years. He and his crews built roads, dikes, trails and observation platforms. They fenced the borders of the refuge and raised Canada geese. They set the stage for the thriving wildlife refuge Sherburne has become. He became a federal conservation officer as well, enforcing hunting rules and regulations on the refuge.

Upon retiring from the refuge in 1988, Wesley started yet another career working for the Mille Lacs County DAC where he assisted disabled clients. He held that job for 11 years.

Wesley enjoyed hunting, fishing, snowshoeing and horseshoe pitching. He was also known to ride Arabian stallions in horse shows. He built a lake cabin in Hubbard County near Itasca State Park which he enjoyed for many years. He was well respected by all who knew and loved him.
The funeral was held at St. John Lutheran Church in Zimmerman on Saturday, December 12. Burial will take place at a later time in Oak Hill Cemetery less than a mile from where he was born on the Thompson family farm.

Republished with permission from the Princeton Union-Eagle, Princeton, Minnesota.


Last updated: January 7, 2016