Col. Luther Carl Thompson, J.D., PhD., age 74, of Woodbury, Minnesota passed away on October 2, 2018, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to Omer and Thelma (Torkelson) Thompson, he graduated from Karlstad High School (MN) in 1962 and was an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, West Virginia University and William Mitchell College of Law. In 1986, Luther achieved the rank of full colonel, having served in the Army Military Intelligence Corps at home and abroad since the late 60s.
Luther proudly served as an elected member of the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) Board of Directors, a position he held for sixteen years. As the Assistant Executive Director for Legal and Legislative Services for the MN Teachers Retirement Association (TRA), he championed the rights of Minnesota teachers. Notably, the Minnesota State Assembly recognized Luther’s efforts this spring with the passing of 2018 Omnibus Pension and Retirement Bill, S.F. 2620. He never retired, and he never stopped serving.
Luther ran everywhere, completing 24 ultramarathons and countless marathons, including the Twin Cities Marathon, Grandma’s Marathon and the Boston Marathon. Perhaps his favorite race was the MN State Fair Milk Run 5K. He was a multiple Grand Slam of Running™ award recipient, running the four oldest 100-mile trails in the country in 1993, 1994 and 1995. He ran his last 100-mile race at age 60 in Leadville, CO. Luther was an avid hunter and sportsman, frequently traveling to Alaska, Karlstad, MN, and Mondovi, WI to hunt with family and friends. In what free time he had, he enjoyed time relaxing at Hidden Valley Campground in Preston, MN where his campfires are the stuff of legends. Luther’s greatest joy was spending time with his grandchildren.
Luther is preceded in death by his parents, Thelma and Omer Thompson; and his brother Paul.
Family members and dear friends who remain to celebrate Luther’s memory include: daughter, Christine Thompson of Minneapolis and former son-in-law Matt Johnson of Wayzata, MN; daughter, Courtney and husband, Pastor Chad Anderson of Neillsville, WI; grandchildren, Daniel, Sella, John and Paul Anderson of Neillsville, WI; dear friend and companion, Sandy Rolstad of Bloomington, MN, Sandy’s mother, Bernice and brother, Randy; sister Karen (Thompson) Callahan and husband Patrick F. Callahan of Croton-On-Hudson, NY; nieces, Anna Callahan of Boston, MA, and Amy Callahan of New York, NY; uncle Oliver Torkelson of Strandquist, MN; aunts Valborg Torkelson of Karlstad, MN; Marie Braaten of Forman, ND, and Louise Becker of Warren, MN; former wife Joan Davis St. Paul, MN; sister-in-law Rebecca Thompson, of Coon Rapids, MN; and many cherished cousins and friends, too numerous to name here.
A private celebration in Luther’s memory will be held October 20th at 1:00 pm in Mondovi, WI at the family farm.
A memorial service will be held at First Lutheran Church in Karlstad, MN November 3, 2018 at 7 PM.
In lieu of flowers or donations, please get outside, run a few miles, and cherish every breath.