Inducted: November 17, 2009
Wesley Duncan Thompson took on the responsibility of heading a successful agri-business at the young age of 24, starting with four plants – becoming seventeen locations before his retirement. He went on to take responsible positions in a host of farm and community organizations.
Admirable as these accomplishments were, he has done much more, inspiring admiration and affection for his humanitarian qualities. As one friend said, “Wes has been a quiet contributor to people in need”.
And the citation when he was named Blenheim Citizen of the Year in 2002 spoke of the personal and private support given to many students by Wes and his wife, Pat, and their far-reaching and kindly contributions to the community.
Wes was born in a Chatham Hospital, the son of the former Anna McCallum and Wesley G. (Tommy) Thompson. He attended Blenheim Public School and went on to Applebey College for his secondary education. After his graduation from University of Western Ontario in 1950, he became the President of W. G. Thompson and Sons, a responsibility he carried until his retirement in 1993.
In 1957, he married the former Patricia Coatsworth. From the first, he was deeply involved in professional and community organizations. He is a past member of the Royal Agricultural Fair Board, and has served on many of its committees. He is a Past Chairman of the Ridgetown Campus Agricultural Committee and has been deeply involved in the progress of the College.
Wes is a past member of the Task Force on the Farmers’ Grain Financial Protection Program; and a Past Trustee of the 4-H Club of Ontario Foundation.
Wes is Past President of the Ontario Bean Dealers Association; and Past President of the Grain Section of the Ontario Grain and Feed Dealers Association.
In addition to his extensive involvement in agricultural organizations, he has contributed substantially to health, education and the environment. He is a member of the Medical and Dentistry Community Advisory Council of the University of Western Ontario; and a Founding Trustee and Past Director of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and the Public General Hospital Foundation. Elected to the Public General Hospital Board in 1994; he acted as second Vice-Chairman in 1998; and served on most PGH Committees. Wes is also a past member of the Rondeau Advisory Committee.
Wes is a member of the Kinsmen Club (K 65), a Past President of the Blenheim Chamber of Commerce; and a Past Board Member of the Blenheim and Community Foundation. Recreationally, he was a Founding Trustee and Past President of Blenheim and Community Golf Club. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic Lodge, Mocha Temple.
In 1999, the Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce named him “Agriculturist of the Year”. Three years later, he was chosen as Blenheim and District Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year”. The citation for that honour mentioned his earlier activity coaching minor league baseball. In 2003, he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for dedication and commitment to our community and our country.
Wes’s hobby over the years has been antique cars, a hobby shared with the community in Santa Claus Parades. His double-decker bus visited many area schools, providing transportation to parks and other centres of interest.
Wes has been, the citation read, “a person who gives freely to his community without thought of personal gain or glory”.
Wes and Pat have three children: Wesley T., Jennifer Wilson, and Frank. There are 11 grandchildren: Patricia, Rosemary, John and Matthew Wilson; Elizabeth, Lydia and Holly Thompson; and Jo Anna, Wesley, Catherine and George Thompson. Wes is a member of Blenheim United Church. One opinion: “Wes has done so much for so many. He is always happy to have the opportunity to help.”