Gerald Thompson

Profile Updated: January 4, 2013
Residing In: Vernon, BC Canada
Spouse/Partner: Joyce B. Kulak
Occupation: Retired
Children: Debra, born 1968, Diane, born 1975

After high school I attended the University of Minnesota and earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering. I met my wife Joyce at the U. of M. and we married in 1963, moving to the San Francisco area I worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company launching rockets. "Pride and Joy" missions included first planetary flyby photos (Mars 1964) and first rendezvous and dock ( Gemini 8, March 1966 see photo). I did graduate work at Stanford in Palo Alto, completing an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics and worked at NASA Ames Research Center as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow.
We moved to Yorba Linda in Southern California in 1977 and I worked at the Hughes Aircraft Company and retired in 1999 after 20 years at Hughes. While at Hughes I was a part-time faculty member teaching engineering classes at Cal State Fullerton.
We have two married daughters, Debra living in Seattle and Diane in the San Francisco Area.

School Story:

I have several "stark" memories of our StLP school years. First I am so thankful for Miss Engan's 12th grade coaching me to take the U. of M. Engineering entrance exam. I owe everything to her! I learned much about life from football experiences, more from losses than wins. I recall a practice game when Marshall High School came and beat the h%$$ out of us and the senior year Robbinsdale game when we wallowed in the rain and mud and were slaughtered. Preparation is everything! I owe a lot to John Steimle for giving me drafting and metal forming skills that have paid me rich dividends! And thank you classmates for encouraging me to do well!

Gerald's Latest Interactions

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Gerald Thompson posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 11, 2019 at 12:42 PM

Posted on: Aug 09, 2019 at 3:38 PM

Hi Bruce: I know this is a bit early, but have a very Happy Birthday next week! Hope all is well with you and Darlene!

Regards and Love from us!
Jerry and Joyce

Gerald Thompson has a birthday today.
May 03, 2019 at 3:33 AM
Gerald Thompson posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 16, 2019 at 9:03 AM

Posted on: Apr 13, 2019 at 7:01 PM

Happy Birthday DON! Hoping your day was special, filled with FUN!

Oct 25, 2018 at 11:15 AM

Belated Happy Birthday to you Kent! Loved seeing the photos of your 100 point Mercury at the 60th Reunion, sorry I missed it, but I had a wonderful trip to Tacoma for the International Studebaker Convention that same week. Regards to you, Laurie, and family!

Aug 16, 2018 at 3:05 PM

Have a very happy Birthday, Bruce! Have some fun with your '54 Bowtie, or riding your Harleys

Gerald Thompson has a birthday today.
May 03, 2018 at 3:33 AM
Gerald Thompson has left an In Memory comment for James Boyce.
Mar 02, 2018 at 3:33 PM

God bless you Jim, and thanks to Steve Sjordal for posting your Bio.  I just have a small correction to mention, I think Jim's birthday was April 30th, not the 27th.  I recall, our neighborhood gang had our birthdays clumped together.  Jim's was April 30th, mine three days later, May 3rd, Steve Sjordal's is May 9th, and Jack Burke's was May 10th.  I have many fond "growing-up" memories with Jim.  His Dad was an awesome story teller.  The two I remember most, is he once mentioned how his parents had made the trip from Ohio to Minnesota in a wagon train.  Along the way, they were frequently stopped by curious Indians, who mostly just wanted to say hello.  Jim's Dad said they always offered the Indians trinkets like mirrors or other European items.  He added, that the Indians would always return the next day and give something back to show their good-will and thankfulness, with an animal hide or some leather goods.  The second story I won't forget Dr. Boyce telling, was when he was a little boy, he heard that the Wright Brothers were demonstrating their flying-machine at the Minnesota State Fair.  He didn't have enough money to get into the grandstand area of their flying demo, but he watched them through a knot hole in one of the fences.  I also fondly remember how in the winter, after getting home from school and eating dinner, I would put on my skates at home, and skate the five or six blocks down the frozen streets to the skating rink at 29th and Webster.  We'd play shinney hockey until about 9pm, practically every night.  The regular guys there were Jim Boyce, Steve Sjordal, Vern Jarosak, Brice Martinson, and Jack Burke from our class, plus upper classman John Plaisted, Scott Matchen, and Roger Atwood. Sometimes we'd have some fun with the neighborhood girl classmates playing pom-pom-pull-away with Jane McCanney, Cricket Atwood, and I think Donna Rose.  That whole gang of shinney hockey players from the Webster rink ended up playing Varsity hockey!  I also remember Jim, when he went to Holy Family Catholic School, was a regular alter boy participating in the Sunday Mass frequently.  He was also a fine Cub & Boy Scout, as I remember his many badges and awards, I think he even made Eagle Scout!  Other fond memories include riding our motorcycles together, but of course on his BSA, he could not keep up to my Triumph T110.

Jim, God bless you again, thanks for all the memories and being a close friend!


Gerald Thompson has left an In Memory comment for James Boyce.
Mar 02, 2018 at 3:33 PM

Just a knit comment on Jim's fine BSA motorcycle.  Just for the record, I think Jim's bike was a 1954 BSA Road Rocket, A10 Model.  The Road Rocket was the first BSA twin with a 650 cc displacement, introduced to keep up with the successful Triumph twins, Thunderbird, T110, etc.  BSA also made the Shooting Star twin, similar to the Road Rocket model, but with a smaller 500cc displacement.  I'm not familiar with the BSA Golden Flash,  I'll have to look it up.  Just did and it looks like the Golden Flash models always came in gold metallic paint.  They were also 650 twins, but Jim's bike was black, red and chrome, and hence most likely a Shooting Star model.  Of course, the most fantastic BSA of the 50's I remember was the 500cc single, Gold Star "thumpers" like the one Bobby Sykora rode with us.  Today the Gold Stars are worth big $$$$ compared to the others.

May 03, 2017 at 12:23 PM

Greetings from California, just wanted to wish you a happy birthday!!! Have a wonderful year!

Gerald Thompson has a birthday today.
May 03, 2017 at 3:33 AM
Apr 26, 2017 at 9:14 PM

Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!! Amazing how fast life melts away. Donna Rose Reyes

Gerald Thompson has a birthday today. New comment added.
Apr 27, 2017 at 9:45 PM

Posted on: May 03, 2016 at 3:33 AM

Oct 28, 2015 at 11:28 PM

Belated Happy Birthday Kent!! And best wishes for many returns!

Gerald Thompson has a birthday today. New comment added.
May 06, 2015 at 10:54 AM

Posted on: May 03, 2015 at 3:34 AM

Apr 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Hi Bruce: Sorry I missed the 55th. Hope to make a trip east sometime soon, but don't know when. Love your '54 Bow tie, please post some more details!

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Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Jerry at Banff Springs Golf Club, Banff Alberta, October 2012
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:56 PM
First rendezvous and docking in space- Neil Armstrong in Gemini VIII docking with our LMSC Agena, March 16, 1966
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Recon satellite photo of Soviet launch pad, circa 1967, probably taken by a KH-7 bird.