Fred Thompson (T-15)

June 28, 1944- February 6, 2015

Frederick James Thompson, 70, died in a canoeing accident in the Florida Everglades on Feb. 6, 2015.

He was born June 28, 1944 at Gotham Hospital in Manhattan, New York.

He graduated from Cornell University in 1967, and he and his wife spent two years in the Peace Corps in Turkey before settling in Brimson, Minn.

They owned and directed, with partners, Midwest Visuals, Inc., an educational media firm specializing in the history and ecology of the Upper Midwest, also producing multi-media presentations for such clients as the College of St. Scholastica and the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission.  Fred was involved with programs for smoking cessation and other national health challenges. 

Fred was a charter member and served on the first boards of directors for the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer organization, which sought to encourage on-going projects in Peace Corps countries as well as to promote better understanding of other cultures, here in the United States.

He was instrumental in starting Pioneer Crafts Co-operative, an artisans’ co-op with educational and marketing objectives in this region; the shop still thrives on Highway 61 on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

His environmental volunteer activities included working tirelessly with Sigurd Olson, Myron Heinselmann and many others to preserve the Boundary Waters Canoe Area as a motor-free wilderness area.  When this region and the BWCA were under siege decades ago by the Canadian firm Amax, doing exploratory drilling for copper and nickel deposits on the Spruce Road, he worked with governmental and nonprofit groups to insist upon environmental impact statements, and procedures to limit sulphuric acid pollution of waterways, wetlands, and underground aquifers. 

Most recently, he was a volunteer in New York City in the refugee/sanctuary movement which helps refugees, particularly at this time from Iraq and Afghanistan, to resettle in this country, learn English, get schooling and jobs and find new anchorage.  Indeed, Fred was scheduled to attend the May college graduations of several young people in the families he helped to find their way in a new land.

What Fred loved most to do was to help Alex with her projects – helping her find and move into her perfect Washington apartment and suggesting edits to her application for a mentorship program.

He was a vital person, full of energy, and deeply humanitarian.  He will be sorely missed by family and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Frances Boesiger Thompson Borkhuis, and his beloved step-father George Borkhuis, and infant siblings.

Fred is survived by his wife, Pamela, of Brimson; daughter Alexandra now of Washington D. C.; his sister, Thomasina (Bruce) Edwards, and two nephews, Chris and Jon, and their families.

MEMORIAL SERVICE:  1 p.m. Saturday, August 29, in Brimson’s Petrell Hall.  Fred was a story-teller and there will be lots of time to re-tell his old stories and add some new ones.  A luncheon will be served by the Brimson Community Action Club, to which his family belonged for decades.  Any money collected in “the bowl” will go to the Brimson Community Action Club student scholarship fund in Fred’s name.

    —  from Duluth News Tribune, Sunday, March 8, 2015 Page D5

Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of Turkey