Obituary – William E. (Bill) Thompson |

Obituary – William E. (Bill) Thompson


William Ernest (Bill) Thompson III, aged 63 of Park City, beloved husband of Joan Thompson and father of Carrie Shoumatoff and Whitney Thompson, died November 17, 2009, at the site of Anasazi ruins in Blanding, Utah.

Born July 25, 1946, in Richmond, Virginia, Bill graduated from the University of Virginia in 1968 and became a naval aviator. He flew the S-2 Tracker from the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany during the Vietnam War, and later flew submarine-tracking missions in the P-3 over the Pacific Ocean. In 1976 he became a pilot for Hughes Air West, the "Top Banana of the West." He lived in Palo Alto, California, until 1983, when he moved to Park City. He retired as a captain from Northwest Airlines in 2006.

Bill was actively involved in the Park City St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. He helped in the reconstruction of the Park Avenue Chapel and served in various positions in the vestry. He recently traveled with the church to Mississippi to help rebuild homes that were damaged in Hurricane Katrina.

Bill had an extraordinary love of life and embraced each and every moment of every day. His true loves were the bicycle and a pair of skis, second only to his wife and children. On any given day you could see Bill riding the streets of Park City or spot his ski tracks on a mountainside above town. Before he retired from flying, he had convinced hotel operators in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo to stash his bicycles until his next layover. His gift to himself after retirement was a breakaway bicycle that fit into a suitcase. His favorite place to bike was southern France, where he fueled his rides with the finest wines and cheeses.

Life was an adventure for Bill, whether it was backcountry guiding for White Pine Touring, tasting pungent cheeses from France, rafting down the Grand Canyon, bushwhacking through the tight trees in search of fresh tracks, or just taking a hike with his family. In his honor, may we all continue to live our lives as fully as Bill.

He is survived by his wife Joan; a daughter Carrie and her husband Andre Shoumatoff; a daughter Whitney Thompson; a sister, Jeanette Roberts and a brother, Robert Thompson; and a wonderful extended family. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made in his name to Mountain Trails Foundation, P.O. Box 754, Park City, UT 84060 ( The community is invited to a pot-luck celebration of Bill’s life on Monday, November 23, at the Miners Hospital in City Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.