WWII hero remembered as a man who served his country, family and community

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- A World War II hero was laid to rest on Jan. 6 in Leavenworth, Kansas.

William Thompson was part of the Jedburghs special ops team, and part of the French Resistance.

At his funeral, the people who knew him best say - he was simply Bill.

"I just, of course, grew up knowing him as dad. And, in fact, we knew as kids that he has been in something called the O.S.S., but we didn't really know what that meant," said son Tyler Thompson.

Bill Thompson lived his life to serve others as a serviceman, loving husband, father, grandfather, and American hero.

Thompson not only served during WWII in Europe, but headed back and served in The China Theatre.

Thompson has three sons, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

"I actually feel honored to be part of that legacy of the work that he did. Both in World War Two and also afterwards," granddaughter Joy Ferguson said.

Furguson and her grandmother both used Thompson's parachute as part of their wedding dresses.

"He was an ordinary soldier who had got some special privileges, and some special responsibility, but he never walked around with a sense of pride," said his son Tyler.

Thompson fought Nazis, but everyone who knew him says his favorite accomplishments were the ones for his community.

After his service he came back to the states, got a degree in music from Kent State, worked in education administration, and eventually settled in Leavenworth.

He dedicated the rest of his professional life to The Chamber of Commerce and serving with The Red Cross.

During his time in Leavenworth Thompson became close friends with Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlan.

"I looked at him in awe, because of what OSS has accomplished in World War Two. He kept on serving. He was a man of service," Donlan said.

A service that will live on for generations of soldiers, his family, and everyone his life touched.

"I think he was just say thank God for allowing me to serve until the last day. What we are is God`s gift to us, what we become is our gift to God," Donlon said.

Thompson's son says Bill believed his greatest professional accomplishment was receiving the Croix de Guerre, which is the highest honor from the French military. Thompson also received two bronze stars, and visited The White House under Ronald Reagan.

He's received so many medals, honors, and awards to display them all took an entire room at his service.

Thompson's work in the special forces was not recognized until 1984 when a large amount of government documents became unclassified and the public learned about the details about the work Jedburghs did overseas.

According to The CIA, many of the original members of the Jedburghs helped form their organization.

The Thompson family asks if you would like to give a memorial gift, donations should be sent to the Leavenworth chapter of The Red Cross.