For the first half of her life, a softball field, a basketball or tennis court,…
Nathan “Nate” Charles Thompson (AW’61) went to meet his Lord Jesus in the arms of his family Easter Sunday, April 17th, 2022 at 11:22pm. He took his last breaths as his surviving family: wife Priscilla (Osborn), daughter Cerissa (Thompson) and husband Ramon Deslauriers, son Nathan Thompson, his wife Elizabeth and their children Oliver and Jane held hands around his bed and sang The Lord’s Prayer. He celebrated his 48th anniversary with his sweetheart Priscilla the previous day in his home, where he was in hospice care in the last stages of pancreatic cancer.
Nate and Pris met in 1973 in Central Africa as volunteer and career missionaries, respectively. Although they had met previously as schoolmates in South Dakota, their lives’ paths didn’t cross until Nate volunteered to join Free Methodist missionaries in Central Africa. Pris had begun her career as a missionary midwife in 1970 and was stationed a country away in Kibuye, Burundi, and Nate was dwelling in tents on the frontier and assisting with the construction of the Nundu mission station in Congo. They met at a missionary retreat at Kumbya, Rwanda and within 11 days knew that they wished to build their lives together. After a 6-month engagement across the two countries, they were married April 16th, 1974 in Kibuye. Their service to the Lord under Free Methodist World Missions spanned three countries over two decades, beginning in the mid-seventies until their retirement from missions in 1994.
Nate was born May 20, 1943 in Colville, WA to C. Glenn and Lucile (Bucholz) Thompson. He was the third child of four born to them and is preceded in death by his older sister Darline and survived by his brothers Marlow and Danny. His first official job was at a local dairy at age 12, though he was helping to run his family’s farm from an early age. A proud Colville Indian for most of his education, he spent his Senior year in Wessington Springs College High School in South Dakota.
He enlisted in the US Navy in 1962 and spent his four-year tour serving in the South Pacific during the Vietnam War. His status as a Vietnam Veteran was a source of great pride for him and his loved ones, and he was granted the privilege of riding the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with other veterans in September 2018. He spent his later years with his fellow veterans and enthusiasts in the Spokane Motor Pool, sharing the vehicles he restored: a 1941 WC12 Dodge pickup and 1943 GPW Jeep, with their lineup. He joined them in multiple parades and shows during his time as a member. He was also known as “The Buzz Saw Man” at the Spokane County Fair, where he exhibited his restored antique “hit and miss” John Deere engine by running a large wood-cutting saw blade, delighting scores of onlookers. After his stint restoring WWII vehicles, he turned to the restoration of Gravely garden tractors.
Nate earned his Associate’s Degrees in Diesel Heavy Equipment and Automotive Mechanics from Spokane Community College, but his actual skills and accomplishments, especially by necessity on the mission field, surpassed machinery repair and spanned hospital and home construction, hydroelectric and diesel pump maintenance, bookkeeping, preaching, instructing his work crews and any and all other tasks needed to keep mission stations running. When in the States on furlough, he and Pris worked in their respective fields while also traveling to churches nationwide to raise money for missions. Despite a lifetime of long working hours, Nate’s top priority was always carving out uninterrupted moments of time with his wife and children, and resulted in special trips to Kumbya, Rwanda and Mombasa, Kenya, along with unforgettable visits to Belgium, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong and China on the family’s way to or from the mission field.
Nate will be remembered for his generosity, relentless work ethic, endless fount of stories, roar of a laugh and constant search for hearts in need of a bear hug. His endless love for his children, grandchildren and many grand-nieces and nephews was profoundly felt in his phone calls, assistance at all hours and boisterous instruction in his beloved shop. His devotion to his Prisca was evident to all, and his commitment to serving his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was the deepest desire of his heart.
A memorial service was held Saturday May 21st at 10:00am at Timberview Church, 15511 N Howe Rd, Mead, WA. Remembrances can be made in the form of contributions to Mission Aviation Fellowship and Hope Africa University.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.BallandDodd.com for the Thompson family.
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