Jim was Library Director from 1970 to 1988 and then he taught in the History Dept until his retirement in 1994. Associate Dean of the University Libraries Kathy Crowe notes that during his tenure our collections and staff grew to support UNCG's expanding research and professional programs in addition to the physical space. Jim was responsible for planning and opening the Library Tower that is now a prominent campus landmark. We also purchased our first online catalog while he was here. He is remembered as an outstanding colleague, teacher, leader, and friend.
James Howard Thompson, 75, of 4020 Crown Hill Drive, Durham, died at UNC Memorial Hospital on April 13, 2010, after a long illness. Born on August 20, 1934, in Memphis, TN, he was the son of Curtis Thompson and Clara Terry Thompson. He graduated from Rhodes College in 1955 and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1957 and 1961 and his M.S. in Library Science at the University of Illinois in 1963. Dr. Thompson was on the faculty at Duke University 1963-65, at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, 1965-66, and at the University of Colorado 1966-68. He was Director of the Undergraduate Library and professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1968-70. In 1970 he became Director of Libraries and professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he retired in 1994. He had many interests, including music, politics, baseball, and traveling. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Margareta Örtenblad Thompson, his brother and sister-in-law Curtis and Sally Thompson of Bainbridge Island, Washington, his daughter and son in law Anna and James Turley of Raleigh, son and daughter-in-law Howard and Nancy Thompson of Austin, Texas, step-son and daughter-in-law Ralph and Silvia Kirschner of Hamburg, Germany, and five much loved grandchildren, Jake, Erik, Caroline, Curtis and Luci. He was a parishioner of the Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church in Chapel Hill. A graveside service for family and close friends will be held Saturday, April 17, at noon at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery. No flowers please. He would prefer gifts be directed to Rhodes College, Memphis, TN.
Published in The (Raleigh) News & Observer on April 15, 2010