CMSGT MICHAEL "MIKE" KEATH THOMPSON (USAF RETIRED)
July 13, 1942 February 6, 2021
Chief Master Sergeant Michael (Mike) Thompson (USAF retired) passed away on Saturday, February 6, 2021, due to complications from dementia. Mike was born on July 13, 1942, to Frank and Elizabeth (June) Thompson in Los Angeles CA. He was preceded in death by his parents, an
older sister, Sharon Montgomery, and a younger brother, Steve Thompson. He is survived by his
loving wife of 57 years, Dian, who he met in Venice CA in 1958 and married in 1963; son Lonnie Thompson, musician, in the US Army at the SHAPE command in Belgium, his spouse, Xiaojing Li, grandson Michael Li Thompson; sisters Darlene Bryte (Ron, deceased) of Folsom, CA, and Starla (Alan) Sterling of North Carolina, and many nieces and nephews.
Mike graduated from Venice High School, Los Angeles CA in 1960. He enlisted in the US Air Force in 1961 and began his 26-year military career in Accounting and Finance positions. After finishing his Basic and Technical training, he served at Oxnard AFB CA; after his marriage to Dian (Nelson) his next assignment was at Prestwick AB, Scotland; followed by K.I. Sawyer AFB MI. While assigned there he attended the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Leadership School and received the Honor Graduate award. Following that prestigious honor, the Thompson family decided to make the US Air Force a career. During the Vietnam conflict, Mike served for a year in Ubon, Thailand. Upon returning to the States, his next assignment was at HQ TAC, Langley AFB VA. It was there in 1969 the Thompsons added a precious son (Lonnie Glenn) to their family; their lonesome cat was thrilled with his new companion.
After Virginia, Mike was assigned to the Air Force Data Systems Design Center, Gunter AFS, in Montgomery AL . Onward west, Mike was assigned to the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center (AFAFC) in Denver CO in December 1976. In 1977 he was promoted to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and a short time later he was placed on an upcoming promotion list for Chief Master Sergeant. Mike added that last stripe while assigned to Zweibruecken Air Base, Germany, serving first as the Disbursing Agent and in October 1982 as one of the first enlisted Accounting and Finance Officers in the Air Force. After four years, Chief Thompson returned to AFAFC as the Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA) where he served under three generals until his retirement from the Air Force in January of 1987. After retirement from the Air Force, Mike returned to AFAFC (now the Defense Finance and Accounting Service [DFAS]) as a civilian and held positions as a systems accountant, the executive assistant to the commander, and in various management positions.
Early in Mike's career he took up the sport of "running" and continued for many years until he had to replace two worn out hips; he kept moving by walking, instead, either in his neighborhood or with volksmarching (walking) clubs. Mike was a volunteer for a number of causes and organizations both in his military and civilian communities wherever he lived. Following a second retirement from federal civil service, Mike enjoyed an active life full of fun and travel around the country and to far away places and, of course, enjoying an unexpected surprise late in life by being called "Grandpa" by Michael Li Thompson.
Mike graduated from Troy State University Montgomery AL "Magna Cum Laude" with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Accounting. After his military retirement he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Computer Information Resources Management and Management at Webster University while residing in Aurora CO.
Dian is greatly appreciative for the tender loving care given to her Chief during the last two months of his life by Bristol Hospice of Colorado Springs.
Mike will be buried at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery in Colorado Springs at a later date when his son and family return to the United States.
Published in The Gazette from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25, 2021.