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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lifelong Fort Thomas Ambassadors Dick and Jackie Thompson Named One of Two Special Grand Marshals

Dick and Jackie Thompson. 
Dick and Jackie Thompson have been life long ambassadors for the city.  They will be this year’s Grand Marshals for the Fort Thomas Independence Day parade.

To give you an idea of what kind of people the Thompsons are, I asked them how they felt when they were found out that they were selected to be the Grand Marshals. Jackie adopted a  mock serious tone and said, “I don’t know who the committee was but I think they were very smart.” And then she burst out laughing because she finds it all so incredible to believe. But then she adds, “I think it is a tremendous honor.” And she means it. Dick Thompson says, “I am honored. I can’t believe it. I don’t know why they picked me.”

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Both of them exhibit that kind of humility. They have made a long term difference to the community.  They both played a part in the centennial celebration in 1967 with their involvement in the Hold That Fort pageant, costumes, and the celebration.

The Thompsons became the accidental keepers of history on Fort Thomas. As a child, Dick was fascinated with the fort since he grew up across the street from it. He saved a lot of memorabilia and donated it to what is now the city’s museum. Then there was the accidental collection of every Highlands annual. They have 100 years of annuals. Jackie Thompson says, “We have all of the Highlands annuals going back to the beginning.”

Dick was the May King his senior year at Highlands.
It started with their own annuals and then they added their siblings’ collections and then they started collecting. Dick Thompson says, “We rented a house near the YMCA and Jackie found a bunch of annuals in the basement. She called the owners of the house and they gave them to us. Then we bought them at yard sales.  Now we just order a new one every year.” Now that is that kind of pride that makes you a Grand Marshal. They represent all of the best qualities of Fort Thomas; their love of the community is obvious. They are the perfect choice for Grand Marshals for the Sesquicentennial celebration.

Dick and Jackie Thompson have, without intending to do so, have set many firsts.  Dick was in the first kindergarten class at Moyer Elementary School when, at his mother’s insistence, he was only four years old. He had such a great time, he spent a second year in kindergarten so he would be the same age as his classmates. Then two years later Jackie was the ringmaster in the first Moyer kindergarten circus.  Dick was in the first MBA program at the University of Kentucky. Jackie was the first woman to chair the administrative board at Highland United Methodist Church.  She was also honored as “The Outstanding Young Woman of the Year",  the “Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year”, and “Alumnus of the Year” for Highlands High School. Jackie, a Wittenberg graduate, also served as the president of the PTA and served on the Kentucky Board of Directors to fight illiteracy where she initiated Project 1990 that encouraged parents to reach new heights by learning to read, pursuing education, and being an inspiration to their children.

Jackie was the first Ringmaster of Moyer's circus. 

Dick helped to get the city museum off the ground. The Army post/fort was an important part of Dick’s young life. He grew up across the street from the fort so he saw all of the goings on at local saloons and stores. So when the city museum began he donated many of the original items and helped curate them in the original museum space, the rear room of the mess hall.  He helped to organize the renovation of the mess hall as well.  Dick is a bit modest about his contributions. He says, “I have done a lot of things but I don’t think most people know what I have done.” That is not quite true but that is really a compliment to Dick because the product is the testament to his dedication. There is a museum that he helped to create. And he left quite a mark on it.

He worked on the mess hall for 20 years dealing with the renovation - furnace, windows, plumbing. And that was quite a change from the damaged building that they began with. The windows were broken, no electric, or plumbing.  Dick remembered when the city flooded the inside of the mess hall in the winter so locals could ice skate! Dick Thompson along with Cliff Lahner were responsible for the personalized bricks program in front of the mess hall. And now, because of his dedication, it is part of the city’s centerpiece.

They have received so many other accolades over the years but their real achievement is their family. They are delighted to share this sesquicentennial hour with their children: Melody Thompson and Pat Reardon, John and Linda Stewart, Steve and Amy Leigh. And they are proud of their grandchildren: McKenzie Leigh, Ryan Leigh, Justin and Sarah Stewart, Jack Stewart, and Jared and Jenna Stewart who is currently serving in the US Army in South Korea.


  1. Well deserved. Two great people.

  2. Congratulations, Jackie and Dick! This is truly a well-deserved honor. Carol & Carl Rekow

  3. Excellent choices as grand marshals! Can we please bring back May Day celebrations to the Fort Thomas Schools? They were wonderful, so much looked forward to, and such a great celebration of spring!

  4. Great story, Chuck! Great people!