Gordon G. Thompson, Class of '54
Judge, Gordon Thompson, 87, a longtime Williston, ND resident passed away Monday evening, January 16, 2012, at the Trinity Medical Center in Minot, ND.
Gordon Charles Thompson was born on May 9, 1924 in Minneapolis, MN to Theodore and Ingeborg Rosetta (Abrahamson) Thompson. Gordon was the eldest of three surviving children. His father passed away when Gordon was twelve years old. He was raised by his single mother who also ran the family business, Abrahamson Hardware in McIntosh, MN.
Like many of his classmates, Gordon was eager to serve in the military. After high school graduation, he enlisted in the US Army and served in post war occupied Japan where he worked at the post exchange in Osaka.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Army, Gordon attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he studied pre-law and earned his BS degree in Commerce. He then attended University of North Dakota Law School and in 1954 he earned his JD. He was honored to have had the opportunity to teach legal course work at UND over the course of his career.
In 1954, Gordon moved to Williston, where he worked for two years in private practice with his dear friend, Telmar Rolfstad. He was bitten by the "oil boom bug" and worked for several years as an oil and gas attorney and petroleum land man for HL Hunt among others. Gordon eventually moved to Fargo where he continued to work in private practice. In 1957, a position as first assistant to the US Attorney opened up, Gordon worked in that capacity until 1965, he loved going up against some of the best legal eagles in the state.
On November 15, 1963, Gordon was united in marriage to Mary Hotger in Minneapolis, MN. The couple had one daughter, Patty. Mary passed away in 1990.
Gordon received a judgeship in the US Bankruptcy Court in Fargo where he served North Dakota and north-west Minnesota until 1979 when he returned to private oil and gas law practice in Williston. He served as Williams County Judge from 1981 until his retirement in 1994 at that time earning the nickname "Judge". He "retired" into private practice once again, keeping his state bar license active until fairly recently.
Gordon evoked the value of service, he volunteered in various capacities at First Lutheran Church, and at the American Petroleum Institute and it's infamous chili cook-off fund-raisers, where the Judge served as a judge. He also served on the Williston Chamber of Commerce Energy Committee, and was a member of numerous service and fraternal organizations including the Elks, Lions, Petroleum Club, and Sons of Norway. Gordon was especially proud of helping spearhead the formation of Northwest Service and Restitution Organization and to be on the API Battered Children's Fund. He worked diligently at the Fort Union Association, but may be better known for his involvement in Little Muddy Rec. Inc. Having planted over 65,000 trees, the Little Muddy Recreation area was re-named Centennial Forrest, making Williston the first "Tree City" in the state. Thompson Landing, a Lewis and Clark Trail canoe landing in the Little Muddy Rec. area was named in his honor. In 1999, the Oktoberfest Committee named Gordon as the Ehrenburger award winner for all of his volunteer efforts.
The Thompson Family loved hosting exchange students from Norway and Brazil. They had a very busy horse farm with multiple dogs, cats, horses and numerous other miscellaneous animals. This farm later became the Fargo Boy's Ranch for troubled young men. Gordon was very proud of the ranch's usefulness to the community.
Gordon was married for a short time to Helen Haugan, that union ended in divorce. He later spent time with his special friend, Charlotte Markel until her death in 2007.
Gordon enjoyed showing and raising horses, woodworking, travel, planting trees and reading.
Surviving Gordon are his daughter, Patty Quinn and her husband, Tom and their identical twins Riley McIntosh and Hayden Struthers of Exeter, New Hampshire; one sister, Martha Nelson and her husband, Orville of Webster, MN; and one brother, Harald and his wife, Adella Thompson of McIntosh, MN.
Preceding Gordon in death were his wife, Mary and his parents.