James Elwin Thompson, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)

James Elwin Thompson Lt Col. USAF (Ret.) James Elwin Thompson of Bellevue passed away on October 20, 2016 at the age of 79 after a 3 – ½ year fight with dementia. He was born on October 9, 1937 in Michigan City, Indiana, the son of Irene and Roger Thompson. James graduated from Elston Senior High School in 1956, having distinguished himself in track and football and earned the nickname “Ace”. James spent his first two years of college studying at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, but then he decided to transfer to Indiana University at Bloomington in hopes of spending more time with a fellow graduate of Elston High named Nancy Ann Kunkel. They were married on February 4, 1961. Nancy survives him along with three of their four children, Tracy Thompson, David Thompson, and Allison Lees. A third daughter, Jenny, passed away in 1977. James is also survived by two grandchildren, Melissa Fike and Logan Fike. James served in the United States Air Force from 1962 to 1981. During his career he served as a navigator, an electronic warfare officer, and a member of the Inspector General Team. He retired from the Air Force in 1981 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. James had a second career as an administrator at Bellevue University, where he played a key role in the expansion of the campus in the 1980s and 1990s. James was a lifelong amateur naturalist and birdwatcher, and he spent many of his happiest retirement hours hiking in Fontenelle Forest, the Colorado Rockies, and elsewhere. There will be a viewing on Monday, October 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bellevue Memorial Funeral Chapel located at 2202 Hancock Street in Bellevue, with a short ceremony taking place at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, we ask family and friends to consider making a gift to Fontenelle Forest.

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