Re: Obit: Thompson, Robert (1882 - 1960)

Contact: Pat Phillips

Hi Sharon! Your note came as quite a surprise. I've always wondered if there were any more of uncle Bob's paintings still around out there. Believe it or not, he was once offered a job by Walt Disney when he was just starting out, but my gg-aunt didn't want to leave Wisconsin. My grandmother said that while he was out painting some fellow passing through offered him 50 cents for the painting, and he just quit painting after that. I really don't know how many paintings that he did, but I have one of his watercolors of a tree lined road along the Black River. As for his other work, he used to paint scenery for theater backdrops, and in his daughter's box of genealogy information, I found a fair number of bills and receipts for paint and materials used for the drops. Some of them I remember were from places in South Dakota and other theaters around the region. But, most of the time, he and my other great uncle used to do painting, wallpapering and remodeling of houses and businesses there in Neillsville. From the papers, I think he continued painting theater screens from home on contract and then shipping them out. Prior to his marrying my g-great aunt, Robert Thompson had travelled with a touring theater group and did the painting of the sets and backdrops for the troupe. I also believe he was a musician and played with a dance band, as well. I only wish I had sat down with my grandmother and learned more of the family prior to their deaths.

He was born in Mooleyville, Breckinridge Co., KY on 18 July 1882 to Francis Ignatius and Cythera A.(Buror)Thompson and learned to paint while he was quite young, according to a biography that I read in the Bohrer, Burah, Borer genealogy (His mom's side of the family). He apparently met my g-g-aunt in Neillsville while he was with that travelling theater group and band and he and Laura Josephine Glass were married on 18 Oct 1913 in Neillsville. They travelled together for several years but returned to Neillsville shortly after the birth of their daughter in 1915. His military tour consisted of serving 3 years in the US Army's 79th Coast Artillery from 1901-1903. And, that's most of what I can remember of him. I don't remember him, myself, as I was a baby when he would visit my great-grandfather, Frank Glass(his brother-in-law), in Fargo where Frank and my grandparents lived and mom was raised. I was in the 8th grade when he passed away, and that summer I travelled to Neillsville with my grandparents and helped when they had the estate auction of his and another brother-in-law, George Glass. The two of them had lived together after Laura passed away, and the two ran their house painting and remodeling out of their garage. I sure wish I could have gotten hold of some of his drafting and art tools...but, I was afraid to ask at that age. I still kick myself over that, considering their worth/cost nowadays. The artwork seems to run on both the Glass and Trumbull sides of the family, as well. I hope this helps. Let me know if this is of help or not. That painting sounds intriguing...wish I could see it. I didn't know he did animals, though. I'm sure my aunts would find that pix interesting, too. I know my mom and grandmother would have, if they were still with us. I inherited the painting from my grandmother who would be his niece by marriage. Pat



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