Leon Thompson Sr.
Leon Thompson Sr. was born on January 30, 1942 to Thomas and Patsy Thompson in Phoenix, AZ. The family migrated from OK settling in Phoenix and then relocating to Fresno, CA to be with their large extended family. Leon attended Fowler High School where he graduated in 1959. He was a star basketball player and was known for scoring winning points!
In 1965 Leon entered the military during the Vietnam War and was stationed in Ft. Eustis, VA. After rendering his service Leon returned to Los Angeles, CA to a career in production management and traveled to locations around the country developing high rise buildings. Leon was a hard worker and kept his high work ethic his entire life. Leon relocated to Perris, CA. He was an avid horseman with an appreciation for the outdoors and livestock. He taught his children to ride horses, barrel race, and together they raised chickens, pigs, and goats before relocating to Riverside, CA.
Leon loved to cook; that’s how he won the heart of his wife Arlyne. He owned and operated a successful barbeque business. Everyone could always count on a Sunday dinner at his home with enough food to take home. Leon accepted Christ at an early age and was a member of Vine Life Christian Fellowship where he proudly won the Senior’s bake off with his famous Sweet Potato Cobbler.
Family and good friends meant the world to Leon. He possessed a spirit of hospitality and extended his home to those who needed shelter, including exchange students. Leon spent countless hours hanging out with his best friend, Donald Brown, reminiscing about their upbringing and would say, “these young people don’t have a clue.” Anyone who knew Leon knew he loved western movies and loved to dance. He was famous for his signature finger dance. He just loved to see people have fun.
In 2009, Leon and Arlyne returned to his birthplace in AZ settling in Litchfield Park, AZ where he attended Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. Leon was able to travel the world with his sweetheart, Arlyne. They traveled to Amsterdam, Paris, Luxemburg, Holland, Germany, Jamaica, and Mexico. He had the opportunity to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, pray in Notre Dame Cathedral, and enjoy multiple cruises. One of his fondest experiences took place in Cost Rica. He loved to tell the story of how Juliet helped to make it a special trip. Leon loved driving his BMW and listening to the sounds of Bobby Womack, Maze, Bobby Blue Bland, and the O’Jays! He was adored and well known as “Mr. Thompson” in his community. Father’s Day of 2018 was very special to Leon as he heard from all his children whom he loved dearly. Leon lived life his way and never compromised, even in the end when he quietly went to sleep. He parted this life on July 4, 2018 and we know that there were fireworks in heaven when he arrived.
Leon was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Patsy Thompson; sister, Ezella Kemp, Wilmington, NC; brothers, Thomas Thompson, Jr., Fresno, CA and Harold Thompson, Bowley, OK. He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife of 38 years, Arlyne Thompson; his seven children, Leon Thompson, Jr., Stephen Yorke (Stephanie), Sean Thompson, Shannon Thompson, Courtney Thompson (Memory), Shane Thompson, and Michael Samuels (Carla); nephew, Darryl Thompson. For the last ten years of his life Leon nurtured, raised, and cared for three of his granddaughters, Deja, Yevette, and Janiya. He also has eight more grandchildren, Diontre, Stephvontre, Stephanie, Daniel, Jourdan, Casey, Terek, Zana, and Avry; eight great-grandchildren, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, and special friends.
A visitation will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 pm, Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034. Burial will take place at 11:00 am, Monday, July 16, 2018 at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024.