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Saturday, September 17, 2022
1:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)
Robert Jeffrey Thompson, a man whose diverse talents and interests took him from a local renowned child performer in rural central Texas to success in broadcasting and public relations in New York City, died on Monday, September 12th 2022 in Clemmons, North Carolina. He was 85.
Jeff was born in Stephenville, Texas on May 4, 1937 to parents Robert James Thompson and
Mary Francise Tucker Thompson. Though formally named Robert Jeffrey Thompson, in his beloved small hometown of Mexia, Texas he was always known as Bubba. However, though he was a very proud Texan, he was anything but the stereotypical slow-talking Southern Bubba. He was very creative, articulate, ambitious, and intelligent. He was extremely gifted, interested and passionate about many endeavors that included astronomy, ventriloquism, photography, space exploration, radio, electronics, aviation, music, the arts, and show dog breeding alongside his first wife, Vonnabeth. At 11, he was baptized in the First Baptist Church. Later, Jeff was a leader in the local chapter of the DeMolay International, a member of the National Honor Society and a science scholarship recipient of the University of Texas where he studied Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Sociology and Broadcasting. Jeff was a highly talented Accordionist and Pianist who beautifully played from memory, even in his later years. He loved Mexia and its people, and he returned there often to visit. His sons later called Mexia home when attending college in Texas.
Jeff’s remarkable career began with his graduation from the University of Texas at Austin in 1960 with a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts majoring in Radio, TV, Film Production and Direction. Shortly after graduation his pleasing baritone voice was heard nationally and internationally as he reported alongside Col. John “Shorty” Powers on the Mercury, Gemini, and early Apollo space missions from Houston for KXYZ, KMSC, United Press International Audio Network and The Voice of America. Those missions led to the first moon landings.
In 1969, seeking greater opportunities, he moved to New Jersey in order to pioneer and anchor a new television concept out of New York City known as the Stock Market Observer – a day-long stock market and business reporting and analysis program on WOR-TV. That format continued on with the likes of CNBC television network and others. In subsequent years, Jeff was an anchorman and news reporter for NBC radio and 1010AM WINS “all-news-all-the -time” radio – at the time the nation’s most listened to radio station. Jeff also found time to “voice over” many TV commercials, such as Martin Paint. He was also a licensed stockbroker on Wall Street, a licensed Private Pilot and an honorary Blue Angel.
From 1979 to 1992, he served as executive vice president and lead trainer for the MediaCom media training division of Carl Byoir & Associates, then sometime later Hill & Knowlton, at the time, the world’s largest public relations firm. In 1992 he moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to establish a new major public relations firm, James A. Fyock & Associates, where he built a television studio and established a media training unit. Sometime after arriving in Winston Salem, Jeff met and married his second wife, Shirley Marie Resendes Thompson, who, along with her family, shared many happy years and stayed faithfully by his side to the end.
Jeff left Fyock in 2006 to establish his own firm, Thompson Communication Breakthroughs, which he headed until his retirement in 2012. As his professional career came to a close, Jeff sought ways to inspire and give back by spear heading Aviation and Space educational initiatives in local community schools and with friends in the Forsyth Astronomical Society Forsyth Astronomical Society | Look Up and Enjoy the Sky (fas37.org) .
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Marie Resendes Thompson and her family; his sons Stephen Gregory Thompson of Austin, Texas, and Michael Robert Thompson of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; his daughter-in-law Chantal Pascale Thompson; his grandchildren Lauren Gail Thompson and Christopher Robert Thompson; his brother Tommy Thompson, Tommy’s wife, Nancy Thompson; and his best friend, colleague and honorary pallbearer, Virgil Scudder. Jeff and his first wife, Vonnabeth Gail Redmon Thompson (Mother of Stephen and Michael) divorced in 1980. Vonnabeth passed away in 2014 from brain cancer.
A visitation will take place at Blair-Stubbs Funeral home in Mexia, Texas on Saturday September 17th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Immediately following the visitation, Jeff will be laid to rest at the Mexia City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jeff’s name to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America | Donate (alzfdn.org)