Suzi Norbeck Thompson has graciously shared Jack Thompson's
biography with us.
In 2007 Jack and Suzie offered a $500 scholarship to the WBHS Alumni
Association. (Check the scholarship page to view the name of the 2007 Ogemaw Heights senior who received it..The
link is at the bottom of this page.)
Jack and Suzi have also set up a scholarship fund in Jack's name with
the North Central Michigan Community Foundation, which is an affiliate of Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan
which covers Crawford, Ogemaw, and Oscoda counties, called The Dr.John "Jack" George Thompson Scholarship fund..(Not
affiliated in any way with the WBHS Alumni Association.)
(The link for the North Central Community Foundation website is at
the bottom of this page.)
"Jack" Thompson was born on June 18, 1931 in Sault
Saint Marie, in the upper peninsula of Michigan. He was the oldest child of Ethyl and John B. Thompson. In 1940
Jack's family moved to Flint, Michigan and then in Jack's Junior year they moved to West Branch, Michigan where Jack completed
his high school education. He was thrilled to be elected captain of the West Branch football team after being at the
school for just one year.
Jack graduated from Central Michigan College in 1953
with a major in Social Studies and a minor in Library Science. In 1964 Jack completed his Master's degree at Wayne State
University. In 1966 Jack was invited to become a "Kellogg Kid" which enabled him to complete his Ph.D. in Community College
Administration at Michigan State University.
Jack's first teaching job was as Social Studies teacher at West Branch High School.
He married a West Branch girl, Leona Parmentier, and their daughter, Susan, was born in West Branch.
The highlight of Jack's professional career was the ten years he spent as President
of Muskegon Community College (MCC). Not only did Jack get adequate financial support for the college, he also built
a strong bridge linking the community to the college. At that time Jack was married to Dr. Carol Thompson, who supported
him in his presidency. While in Muskegon, Jack was the only Caucasian member of a local African American Organization.
He was a Rotarian and he served on several community Boards. Jack was active in his church. Jack established a fund
at MCC administered by the Muskegon Community Foundation which he hopes will ensure that all segments, classes, races and
religions of the community are involved in every aspect of MCC.
After Jack retired from MCC in 1986, he was interim superintendent of North Muskegon
High School. He also took the position of Director of the Muskegon YMCA until a replacement could be found.
In retirement Jack studied photography and became a professional photographer.
He belonged to an art gallery where many of his photographs were sold.
In 1989 while on a photographic safari in Africa, Jack met Suzi Anstine Norbeck,
an attorney from Connecticut. They fell in love, married and moved to Mesa, Arizona to be near Jack's daughter and his
Jack has always believed in giving back to the Community.
He taught physical fitness for 12 years at Muskegon YMCA. He formed the
Muskegon Hiking Club and arranged for hikes throughout Michigan culminating with a trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
in Arizona. He was active in the Sierra Club and led many Sierra Club trips in Michiga and in the Superstition
Mountains in Arizona, often with his wife Suzi as his assistant.
One of Jack's best hikes was the Pyrenees in Spain. And one of Jack's best
trips was his bike trip, by himself, through Normandy, France. One of Jacks favorite altruistic endeavors was coaching
Little League baseball in Mesa, Arizona. Especially enjoyable were the years he coached his grandson, Billy Hull.
Jack was pleased to win many adjudicated awards for his creative photography.
For many years, Jack taught photography in the "Learning in Retirement" program at Mesa Community College in Arizona.
He also taught "Arm Chair Travels" at the college where he showed his artistic slides of his trips around the world.
Jack served several terms on the Board of Mesa Community College "Learning in Retirement" program.
During their marriage Jack taught Suzi how to hike, how to play pinochle and
how to take good photographs.
Suzi taught Jack to ski, sail and play tennis.
Jack and Suzi traveled to all seven continents and they backpacked and skied
around Europe. One of their best trips was the trip around the world which Jack arranged. Jack fell in love with
France. Paris is his favorite city and Normandy is his favorite region. Van Gogh is his favorite artist.
The John "Jack" G. Thompson Scholarship Fund (through the North Central Michigan
was established in 2007 as a tribute to Jack's years in West Branch and his
work in education. The scholarship helps to support students graduating from Ogemaw Heights High School
(Jack is suffering from Alzheimers and will no longer
be able to meet and greet old friends at the annual Alumni Banquet. Messages left on this website for him will be forwarded
to his wife, Suzi, who will be happy to share them with Jack.)