Ernie D. Thompson, 75, of Oak Park, died on Feb. 7, 2016 at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital surrounded by his loving family. 

Born on Oct. 13, 1940 in French Camp, Mississippi, he was a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Epsilon Phi Chapter at Northern Illinois University where he graduated in 1963. 

He went on to earn two master’s degrees, one from the University of Illinois and the other from Roosevelt University. He served as a mentor to thousands of students and student-athletes over the years as a longtime teacher at Dunbar Vocational, Bloom Township and Steinmetz high schools in Chicago. He also taught at Wilbur Wright College as an adjunct professor. 

Mr. Thompson was also a respected coach of football, baseball, track, and particularly wrestling. He is a member of the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

He was an elder and member of the Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church and a 13-year board member of the West Cook YMCA and one of its regular volunteers. 

Mr. Thompson was a family man who was esteemed by his friends for his cooking, especially his smoked turkey. He also managed to find time to golf, design and create stained glass art, and play racquetball. 

Mr. Thompson is survived by his wife, Loisjean Komai Thompson; his children, Diahanna (Lionel) Thompson-Miller, Kenneth (Fabiola) Thompson and Kwaben Komai; many grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and his many friends. A funeral service was held Feb. 13 at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church of Chicago followed by private cremation and interment at Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park. 

Memorial donations are appreciated to Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church Endowment Fund, 600 E. 35th St., Chicago, Illinois 60616. 

Woodlawn Funeral Home, Forest Park, handled arrangements.

Join the discussion on social media!