Verne Thompson, 73, died March 12 at his home near Morehead City.
Verne was the only son of the late James Monroe and Sue Hanner Thompson of Seven Springs, N. C., and grandson of the late J. D. and Winifred Ward Thompson. His deep passions for reading, ideas, and working with tools and gadgets began as a child on the farm, often with unintended results such as his adventure with matches in their woods when his cousins came to visit. He graduated BF Grady at 16 years of age and started at NCSU, but he was more interested in installing a record player in his car and looking for girls than going to State. Thereafter, he served in the Army for three years, then attended and graduated from Atlantic Christian (Barton) College.
After college, he and his wife Carolyn lived in the Raleigh area where Verne worked for IBM as an accountant. His love for gadgets and tools won out and he ran a Yamaha shop in Durham for some years. As with many, the recession of the 70’s doomed his business. His marriage ended and Verne took off on his Yamaha on a year-long odyssey to the West Coast. Upon his return, he moved to Raleigh and worked for the state of North Carolina. In the late 80’s, Verne was smitten by Frances Dreps, a woman he claimed punctured his tire as an excuse to meet him. Together they shared adventures working and traveling together, with his backhoe, dump trucks, on various boats, at their “Crik House” at Broad Creek, and with her children and extended families. Verne retired from Cost Accounting with NCDHR, and then worked four years with Capital Consulting. The job was a necessity that enabled him to buy more books, to collect more tools, boats, and toys, all of which were duly catalogued, recorded in notebooks and lovingly used for all manner of endeavors.
In the mid 2000’s Verne sold his house and rolling stock in Raleigh and moved to the coast, where he replenished his rolling stock and made great friends with the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, sharing his vast knowledge of all things political, and serving as Webmaster Extraordinaire. When in HVAC certification classes, Verne met Jesus Ramirez, Jr., who became a protégé and fast friend. He also began tinkering as a chef, modifying recipes and various cookers as only Verne could.
In 2014, a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes began a decline in his health which ended with the diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. True to his nature, Verne examined, parsed, took his own counsel, and fought the disease in his own way. When he called, Frances came and – for once he said – did exactly as he wished. They enjoyed the rarest of opportunities – to enjoy again the love that originally brought them together and supported them until his hand let go of hers.
Verne is survived by cousins Frances Ward Black Holland, R. D. Stroud, Jack Ward, Janet Ward Black, Bill Bollmer, Pam Beaver, Barbie Whitner, Emory Sadler, John Hanner and Jack Hanner. He leaves behind not his only but his best, last love Frances Dreps, her sons Chris, Matt and families, Kurt and Irene Becker, Jesus Ramirez, Jr. and family, Juli Cosgrove, Bob Cavanaugh, Ken Lane, Gene Whitman, and Carolyn Elliot.
Verne’s wishes were to be cremated and to have a gathering for his family and friends. The Memorial service will be at 11:00 am March 21 at Munden Funeral Home, Morehead City. Interment of his ashes will be in the Ward family cemetery with his parents. Verne would not want flowers, but would tell you all to give to a favorite cause, take a friend to lunch, or spend it on your health.