Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
William (Bill) Thompson, Jr Memorial
William (Bill) Thompson, Jr Memorial

William (Bill) Thompson, Jr

William (Bill) Thompson, Jr

Friday, February 17th, 2023

William (Bill) Herbert Thompson, Jr

Bill unexpectedly passed away on February 17, 2023, after a rough 2022, which started with the passing of his beloved wife of 60 years.  The second of 5 children, William Herbert Thompson, Jr was born December 9, 1937, in Everett, WA to Evelyn and William (Herb) Thompson, Sr.  He, along with his 3 sisters and 1 brother grew up on a farm near Snohomish, next door to the farm of his father’s twin brother and his wife and 3 sons.  The two families were inseparable.  They grew up helping with the milking, gardening, picking berries, readying vegetables for the cannery and haying.  While they did without many material goods, their home was never short of love, family celebrations, pranks and sporting competition.  After going to the small Swan’s Trail country school through the 6th grade, he attended Snohomish High School where he participated in basketball and tennis, before graduating in 1956.  He then attended Whitman College and later transferred to the Montana School of Mines in Butte, MT, where he played on the school’s basketball and tennis teams before he graduated in 1961 with a degree in Geological Engineering.  Immediately after graduation he took an engineering job with Standard Oil Co but first had to complete his basic training for the Army Reserves.

While attending college in Butte, he met Donna Shea who had grown up in Butte and was working as a teacher.  They were married on November 18, 1961.   They soon moved to Wyoming where sons Bill, and a year later, Greg were born.  The Thompsons followed Bill’s job with Standard Oil from Wyoming to Texas and California before deciding that they would both pursue careers in teaching.  They spent a year in Butte again, while Bill earned his master’s degree in education.   In 1969 the family was completed with the birth of Shawn just before they all moved to Concrete, where Bill and Donna taught in the local schools.

In Concrete, Bill taught high school math, chemistry, physics, earth science and driver’s education.  He was also an assistant coach for football and the head coach for basketball for several years.  He enjoyed his time with the students and athletes and was later active in the Upper Skagit Valley Education Association.  He retired from teaching in 1992 but was later elected to the local school board where he served for several years.

While he was a successful teacher, he also took pride in his role as a husband, father and grandfather.  As a teacher, summers were always free for taking the family on camping and hiking trips.  Ever since his days as a geological engineer he was an avid rockhound, something he was able to share with his father and sons, especially during a family find of a mammoth tooth and tusk in the gravel banks along the South Skagit Highway.  Annual fishing trips to Neah Bay and camping at Banks Lake, all with the families of his siblings and cousins made for fond memories for all.  He also loved life on his little farm, where for over 50 years he and Donna raised their sons, hosted family get-togethers and provided a nurturing home for grandchildren to visit.   After retirement, Bill and Donna loved to travel to destinations across the world, frequently bringing along other family members.  They made many trips to see children and grandchildren across the northwest, often coming to celebrate special occasions.

Bill will be dearly missed by his surviving family, who include his sons Bill, Greg, and Shawn and their wives Andrea, Traci and Danna; grandchildren Amanda, Melia (Aaron), Casey, Briana, Tye, Ryan (Katie), Mary, Gwennyth, and Evangeline; great granddaughter Estelle;  brother Craig (Linda); sisters, Joan, Terry (Tony), and Kathy (Rick);  many cousins,  nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Donna, and parents Herb and Evelyn Thompson.

A celebration of life is planned for the Summer of 2023.   In honor of Bill, people are encouraged to donate to their local Lions Club or other charity benefiting the visually impaired. Share memories of Bill and sign the online guest register.


  • Carolyn Jones Zink

    I had Mr. Thompson for Earth Science and he was always very kind to me. He will be missed. He was always there when a student needed help.

  • Katrina Wasson

    I enjoyed having him as my Earth Science and bookkeeping teacher in high school. He had a huge positive influence on my life.

  • Delilah Darlene Harrod

    God Bless your whole Family and pray for you all to have a peace and understanding.My The Good Lord and your Whole Family be Blessed.Love Evetyone
    I work for Adrea’ Mama and Grandpa Bill was How I knew as her Daddy IN-Law.Take Care Everyone

  • Harold Allen

    I really enjoyed our close relationship at Snohomish HS nd Whitman college.
    Bill was one of the nicest guys in our class.

  • Terri Handrich

    I had Bill and Donna both as teachers. Both wonderful people and will surely be missed in our small town. May you rest in peace.

  • Katie & RYan Thompson

    We love you! Blessed you are happy and reunited with your loving wife Donna❤️ Will always be missed and loved!

  • Angels Smith Massingale

    I loved Mr. Thompson. He was always so kind to me.. Now you are back together with your sweet wife… who was my first grade teacher❤️

  • Jon H.

    I could be mistaken, but I believe this was the man who I knew as Bill the Joke Man. For more than a decade, this man would visit the many stores where I worked and always hit me with a nonstop barrage of old timey jokes. Definitely left a mark. RIP Bill

  • Robert (Bob) Coggins

    I believe that I was in one or more of his classes during his first year teaching in Concrete.