Alvin Thompson


Alvin O. Thompson, 91, died on Friday, June 21, 2019, with his loving wife, Margene, at his side in the Firesteel Health Center in Mitchell.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, June 26, at Storla Lutheran Church in Letcher. Pastors John and Paul Knudson officiated. Internment followed at Trinity Cemetery with a meal that followed the internment at Storla. Visitation and prayer service were held Tuesday at Bittner’s Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.

Alvin was born on March 31, 1928 at home on a farm in rural Letcher to Pete and Darlene (Hunter) Thompson and was the third of four children. In high school, his athletic prowess, speed and competitive nature were assets to the basketball and track and field teams. He also enjoyed tooting his trumpet in the band and raising his melodious voice in the school and church choirs.

Alvin graduated from Letcher High School in 1946. At age 24, he felt duty bound to enlist in the Air Force in service to his country. He served a year in South Korea at the end of the war. During his service, he was highly regarded as a skilled airplane mechanic and quickly earned the confidence of his commanding officers. He was also honored to sing with the Shepard Key Noters.

He came home to South Dakota to join the family farm in 1956. He married Kathryn (Knudson) in 1957. They had three boys together. Kathryn died in 1965. A few years later, he went to the Twin Cities and enrolled in a technical school to earn his credentials to serve as a commercial aviation mechanic.

In November 1967, Alvin attended a Lutheran Single Parent’s meeting in St. Paul where he met Margene Collins Zahn. Alvin and Margene were married in St. Paul on March 16, 1968 surrounded by love of four blended families. On Oct. 15, 1968, through a dual adoption service, the family became one; Alvin adopting Margene’s three girls, and Margene adopting Alvin’s three boys.

The next period of his life was filled with all the activities of a large family. After a long day in the field or hog barns, Alvin liked to shoot hoops with his sons, challenge his children to a foot race, or sing with his daughters. He was an amateur photographer and loved capturing the images of his growing, dynamic family. He also liked his motorcycle and often went on trips with his wife and friends.

Alvin was a deacon and trustee at Storla Lutheran Church, a member of the men’s choir and active in Gideons. He also served his community as a school board member.

He was known as a kind, gentle man, and a great listener.

Alvin is survived by his wife of 51 years, Margene; children, Mark (Delia), Doyle, Elizabeth, Susan (Brian) Dodd, Cindy (Keith) Gerlach; 13 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; sister, Eileen (Tobin); brother, Norman; members of the extended union of the four families, John (Marj) Knudson, David (Miriam) Knudson, Paul (Bobbi) Knudson, Phillip (Cathy) Knudson, Stanley Collins, Mary Ann (Erik) Wersen, Dennis (Gloria) Collins, Dean Wood, Morris Zahn, and Mavis Zahn.

Alvin was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Marlon; grandson, Jeremy; brother, Denton (Janet); extended family members, Lloyd (Susanna) Collins, Norman (Bev) Collins, Sharon Mortinsen, Kay Wood, Otis (Stella) Knudson, Henry (Grace) Zahn Sr., Myrtle (Louis) Anderson, Mildred (Pete) Makelki, Margaret (Ralph) Paulsrud, Henry Jr. and Evonne Zahn.

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