OBITUARY

Clyde Everett Thompson

October 5, 1928November 6, 2019

Clyde Thompson dedicated more than 60 years to the Raytown school district as a teacher and coach. His commitment continued after retirement when he drove the bus for the Bluejays’ sports and debate teams. He believed in education as the path to a better future while recognizing the value of athletics and physical fitness in putting students on that path. He was fortunate to spend his entire career in his hometown, at his alma mater, with colleagues he respected and enjoyed. His dedication to teaching and loyalty to his friends was matched only by how well he took care of his family.

Clyde was born on Oct. 5, 1928, to Ray and Viola (Wilson) Thompson. He attended Raytown schools from first grade through his graduation from Raytown High School in 1946. During his senior year, he was captain of the basketball and track teams and voted “best boy athlete” and “ideal boy.” He attended and played basketball at Missouri Valley College before transferring to Central Missouri State University, where he received a degree in education. A natural athlete, Clyde was a popular recruit for intramural, town and church basketball teams in both Warrensburg and Raytown during his college years. In the summers while working at Black Sivalls & Bryson, he played on the company’s baseball team as well as for Ban Johnson teams.

In the fall of 1950, the Korean War interrupted the beginning of his teaching career. Clyde served two years in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Tague, Korea, with the Eighth Army Headquarters. He was a long way from small-town middle America, but he still enjoyed playing baseball with other soldiers and teaching Korean friends how to throw a curve ball.

Returning to Raytown in 1953, Clyde accepted a job teaching math and coaching eighth-grade football and freshman basketball at Raytown Junior High, and he began a career of coaching whenever and wherever the need arose. For the next 30 years, he taught physical education, coached football with mentor and friend Ted Chitwood, and also coached a variety of other sports. He served as the varsity basketball coach for both the boys and girls at various times and as head baseball coach.

In the early 1960s, he reestablished the baseball program at Raytown High, which hadn’t fielded a team since World War I. His success with the program was considerable -- his first team included pitcher Pat Herring, who went on to be drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, and in the 1970s, he coached Jeff Cornell, who pitched for the San Francisco Giants. Coach Thompson took the Bluejays to multiple district tournament appearances. In the 1981 season, the team won the district and sectional tournaments, advancing to the state finals. In 2018, the Raytown school district named the new Raytown High baseball/softball field after him.

In 1953, Clyde met another young teacher in Raytown who was willing to attend a lot of ballgames with him. On June 1, 1955, he married Patricia Louise Grinnell at Community Christian Church. Together, Pat and Clyde raised three children, making sure they had special birthdays and holidays and taking them on wonderful family vacations in the Rockies and elsewhere. Once they all took an extended camping trip to California -- even though they had no camping experience. In the winter, there were always school activities to attend and sledding if the snow was just right. Clyde especially enjoyed 4th of July fireworks and homemade ice cream in the summer.

Once the grandkids came along, Clyde supported them in all their activities just as he had with his own children. They grew to enjoy sports as much as he did, and he spent many Saturdays at soccer, baseball, basketball and softball games as well as cross country and gymnastic meets. He was truly a proud grandparent and always impressed with their talents on and off the field.

Clyde retired from teaching in 1984, but he never truly retired. He continued working for the school district as a trip bus driver, driving athletic teams and other groups to extracurricular events through 2015. He enjoyed two jobs at Kauffman Stadium: doorman for the Kansas City Royals Stadium Club and then parking lot tollgate attendant. There he met a new family through the Royals and often commented that his time at Kauffman Stadium wasn’t really work -- just fun. He was there for the World Series victories and everything in between, supporting the team through good times and bad for 35 years. At age 90, he was still out in the parking lot greeting fans and socializing with coworkers. He continued to play golf regularly as a member of the KC Seniors Golf Association, held Chiefs season tickets, and supported the University of Missouri Tigers.

As a father, educator and coach, Clyde Thompson set an example with hard work, patience, a very dry sense of humor and quiet but unwavering support. In measuring his success, some might focus on the major leaguers he coached, but equally important were the students who left Raytown High to become doctors and engineers and firefighters. His most important personal statistics have nothing to do with sports – they are the countless number of lives he influenced in his community, his loyalty to his friends and church, and the family members he loved.

Clyde died in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 6, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Patricia L. Thompson; his parents; and his brothers Ray and Floyd. He is survived by his children, Bill (Kay) Thompson, Kathy (Jack) Cannon, and Ann Thompson; four grandchildren, Katie Thompson, Mallory Thompson, Austin Cannon and Bailey Cannon; and brother Lloyd Thompson and his family.

A funeral service will be held at Community Christian Church (4601 Main, Kansas City, MO 64112) at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, with visitation to follow in the church hall from 5-7 p.m. Parking is available in the Anthology parking garage adjacent to the church. A private graveside service will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, at Brooking Cemetery, where Clyde served as a trustee. Memorial donations may be made to Community Christian Church.

Services

  • Funeral Service Monday, November 11, 2019
  • Visitation/ Reception Monday, November 11, 2019

Memories

Clyde Everett Thompson

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Jerry Rellihan

November 10, 2019

Coach Thompson was truly one of the nicest and most influential adults/coaches that I had the pleasure of meeting and playing for at RHS. He was “Mr. Raytown”. From his quiet demeanor, to his calmness in all situations, to his keen sense of humor, he was at all times a guiding light for the young students at RHS. May Peace be with you Coach.

Jerry Rellihan “77” RHS

Charlotte Belger

November 8, 2019

Clyde Thompson was the epitome of a "Native Son" in Raytown. My husband and I knew him as Coach Thompson when we were students at Raytown High School in the magical 1950's. He was so youthful and vibrant, he looked more like a classmate. The girls adored him and the boys respected him. He continued to serve the school district, in one way or the other, for his whole life. Calm, mild mannered and kind he always was. I have interviewed him about his life and times for the Raytown Historical Museum archives several times. He remembered things to the smallest detail and was always generous with his time. Oh..he will be so missed but never forgotten. May he rest in a well deserved peace. Charlotte Belger

Camilla (Dickstein) Keech

November 7, 2019

Very sad to learn of Coach Thompson's passing. Remembering Coach Thompson well at Raytown High School. He was well liked at Raytown HS and appreciated for his work with the athletes. Rest in peace, Coach T.

Rita Olson-Stawicki

November 7, 2019

Mr. Clyde will be greatly missed. He was a very caring and kind person. I loved working with Mr. Clyde at Royal's Stadium. Mr. Clyde always respectfully addressed me as Miss. If I was having a bad day, Mr. Clyde was able to make my day better. Much respect to Mr. Clyde, he will be greatly missed. God bless you, Mr. Clyde, may God wrap you in his loving arms, as he welcomes you home to heaven. I will miss you, Sir.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY