Gary Dana Thompson

June 27, 1947October 7, 2021

Gary Dana Thompson of Temple Terrace, Florida, formerly of Simpsonville, South Carolina, lost his courageous battle with Liver/Pancreatic Cancer on October 7, 2021. Gary was born June 27, 1947 in Corry, Pennsylvania. He was the son of the late Harry Andrew and Anna Christensen Thompson, both of Danish descent. He was also the son-in-law of the late William DesPortes and Katie Yarborough Coleman. Gary is survived by his wife of 49 years, Kay Coleman Thompson and by two daughters, Tracy (Brian) Leapard and Amanda (Max) Glynn both of Valrico, Florida, a sister Kristine (Robert) Love of Tallahassee, Florida, Grandsons Britton and Coleman Leapard, Logan and Mason Glynn of Valrico, Florida, sibling in-laws Nealie and Rick Werts of Columbia, South Carolina, Foster and June Coleman of Lexington, South Carolina, nieces and nephews Kelley Love (Steve) Miller of Tallahasee, Florida, Leah Love (Eddie) Soley of Kittery, Maine, Jill Coleman (Bobby) Kunkle and Beth Werts (Michael) Hawkins, Chad (Katie) Coleman all of Lexington, South Carolina, and Brant (Kelly) Werts of Charlotte, North Carolina. Gary is also survived by his chosen brother, Tom Bolick of Greenville, South Carolina and his long-time friend and colleague, Rochelle Garrett of Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Gary started elementary school in Jacksonville, Florida before moving to Columbia, South Carolina in 1955. He was one of the fifty chosen in the 7th grade to attend University High School on the campus of the University of South Carolina, where he played on the basketball team. He was a student at the University of South Carolina prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1968. Gary then served with the 26th Marines in Vietnam before being selected for the Combined Action Program (CAP) 2-3-3 and CACO 2-3 HQ. Upon return to the United States, Gary enrolled at Clemson University using the GI Bill where he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Civil Engineering. He was a member of the Eta Alpha Chapter of the Theta Chi Fraternity. He was also a member of Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society. In December of 1973, he began his career with the South Carolina Department of Transportation in Columbia, before transferring to Greenville as the District Traffic Engineer. After 25 years of service to the state of South Carolina, Gary briefly worked for an engineering consultant before moving to Tampa, Florida to become the Florida Department of Transportation District 7 Traffic Operations Engineer. He continued to solidify his legacy making the roadways safer during a 40-year career. Many of his colleagues knew his quote “Traffic Engineering is fighting a war you try to lose as slowly as possible”. Gary continued to be active in the community via the Tampa Chapter 787 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Gary enjoyed many reunions of the Combined Action Program in various locations throughout the country.

Gary was known for his love of family, friends, fast red cars, and his generosity. In addition to his professional life, he was an excellent carpenter, plumber, electrician, and self-taught brick mason. The family wishes to thank Dr. David Wright of the Florida Cancer Specialists for his compassionate care. We are also grateful to Chapters Hospice – Ruby Team for their assistance in providing comfort in his final week. Gary’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 11:00 am at the Hillsborough County Veteran’s Memorial Park at 3602 US 301, Tampa, FL 33619. The family requests that you wear patriotic attire. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to Join Queena at or by sending a check to Join Queena P.O. Box 891277 Tampa, FL 33689.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at


23 October

Celebration of Life

11:00 am

Hillsborough County Veteran's Memorial Park

3602 US 301
Tampa, Florida


Gary Dana Thompson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Janet Bradham

October 12, 2021

K a y, we are so sorry to hear of Gary's passing. He was a good friend to Earl senior. He really thought the world of Gary and enjoyed their friendship and working relationship. Your whole family was good to Earl senior. Earl and I will keep you and the girls and families in our prayers. I know Jennifer keeps up with Tracy on Facebook. Love and prayers Janet and Earl Bradham

Jim Fletcher

October 11, 2021

On behalf of Chapter 787, Vietnam Veterans of America, we wish our brother, Gary, peace with our Lord. Our condolences to Kay and the family on their loss. He will be remembered and he will be missed.