Claude "Tommy" Thompson


Claude Wilber Thompson "Tommy" passed away Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.
Tommy was born Nov. 12, 1927, to Claude Ralph and Eula Fern (Furgason) Thompson in Amorita, Okla. He graduated from Derby High School in Derby, Kan., in 1945. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 19, 1945, just before he graduated. He was 17 years old, basic training was at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill. Tommy served our country for two and a half years. He was assigned duty at the U.S. Naval Air Station Dallas located in Grand Prairie, Texas, and the Naval Air Station Ottumwa, located in Ottumwa, Iowa. He was honorably discharged on Oct. 4, 1947, where he received a World War II Victory Medal.
After being discharged from the U.S. Navy, he worked various jobs until he became employed by Standard Oil as a transport driver. He lived in Iowa City and later moved to Agency, Iowa, to operate the Standard Oil station and deliver fuel to farm customers. In 1972, he acquired the Standard Oil accounts in Ottumwa, Iowa. He retired from Standard Oil/Amoco (now BP) in 1977.
While stationed in Ottumwa, Iowa, he met and married Betty Eyre. They later divorced. During this union they had two children, Steven Curt and Nancy Lynn. On April 15, 1977, Tommy married Bernice (Copeland) Clarridge in Unionville, Mo., at the First Methodist Church at 12 p.m. as the noon bells rang.
In 1977, Tommy and Bernice moved to Grand Prairie, Texas, with two children. There, he was employed by the Army Air Force Exchange Service, where he then retired in 1989. After retirement in 1992, they moved to Ottumwa, Iowa.
Tommy was preceded in death by his parents, Claude and Eula Thompson; Michele Clarridge, Steven Thompson and Cyndra Clarridge Templeton.
He is survived by wife, Bernice; children, Nancy Thompson, Hal, Mark and Christina Clarridge; 19 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at Behner Funeral Home. Funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at Behner Funeral Home with Pastor Gabriel Claussen officiating. Burial with Military Honors will be at Evergreen Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Parkview Care Center or Alzheimer's Association and mailed to Bernice Thompson, 3300 W. Van Buren, Fairfield, IA 52556.
Online condolences may be made to the family at

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