Thompson leaves behind a great legacy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

I don&8217;t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

&8212; Albert Schweitzer

Rarely does a man pass away without a harsh word being spoken in his memory. Rarer still is the man that lives a life with such dignity and care for others that a person would have been hard pressed to say a negative word about him during his lifetime.

Commissioner Billy Thompson was just such a man.

Commissioner Thompson passed away at his home Sunday at the age of 74.

Commissioner Thompson carried himself with the air of grace and dignity only afforded to those with the confidence that comes from living a life of putting others first.

Commissioner Thompson invested much of his work life in the funeral business, helping others through the anguishing grief of loosing a loved one.

By all accounts, he did so with honor and humility so uncharacteristic of today&8217;s society.

Commissioner Thompson also served 26 years as coroner of Shelby County. A thankless job, the county coroner serves their constituents when care, dignity and the utmost respect are needed. He was perfect for the job.

Commissioner Thompson carried that same servant&8217;s attitude with him onto the County Commission where he was serving his third term. A true steward of the people&8217;s money, Thompson never let the glamour of serving such a fast growing, affluent county distract him from what was most important: serving the people who had put their trust in him.

Alex Dudchock, Shelby County Manager, perhaps said it best describing Commissioner Thompson as a &8220;true southern gentleman&8221;. He was that indeed.

Much will be said and written of who will follow Commissioner Thompson on the Shelby County Commission but that is fodder for another day. Today we can simply pray that whoever that person might be was cast from a similar mold as was Commissioner Thompson.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Thompson family as they and the rest of this county morn the loss of a very dear man and unselfish public servant