County commissioner Billy Thompson dies

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

The funeral service of Shelby County Commissioner Billy Thompson was held yesterday in Columbiana. Thompson, 74, died Sunday.

He spent more than 40 years in public service, including 14 years as a county commissioner and 24 years as Shelby County coroner.

Thompson ran unsuccessfully for county sheriff twice, including campaigns in 1974 and 1994.

County Manager Alex Dudchock said it was difficult to define Thompson by only one or two causes, but said a couple stood out from his work representing District 1 as a county commissioner.

&8220;The people lost a true gentlemen who not only served many years in his two roles with the county,&8221; Dudchock said, &8220;but they also lost a strong advocate for transportation improvements and a strong advocate for county employees.&8221;

Thompson was a proponent of the use of general fund monies to help finance road improvements, a practice Dudchock said made Shelby County&8217;s commission unique in the state of Alabama.

He was also diligent in his work to ensure that benefits packages for county employees were among the best in the state.

Thompson was elected to his first of four terms on the commission in 1992. He won the 2004 race by more than 3,000 votes.

A resident of Columbiana, Thompson is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, three children and five grandchildren