“Doc” Thompson was born at home in West Limestone County on July 16th, 1920. He had 2 sisters and one brother, and has nearly nonstop interesting stories from a lifetime of adventure. During WWII he was in the Navy, and had to get special permission from his parents to enlist at the age of 17. He was in the Pacific theatre from 1942-45, and spent a good portion of his naval service in China. When he came home, he finished high school, and played football for Athens High School as a running back and a tackle. His given name is Charles, but a family friend called his older brother “Big Doc,” and Doc was “Little Doc.” After awhile, he was just “Doc.”
After high school he told me he built a dairy farm and had 25 cows, mostly Jerseys and a couple of Holsteins. While his daughter, Janet Poole, mentioned to me that he had many sweethearts, he was finally and permanently smitten by a ticket taker at the Princess movie theatre in Decatur. Her name was Judy, and she became his bride on September 15, 1951. They had two daughters, Janet and Kay, who were both cheerleaders at Athens High. Doc farmed for awhile, and then sold the farm to start a landscaping business. Thompson Landscaping is still going strong, and is run by Janet’s son, Jamie.
He helped dig the basement of 1st Presbyterian Church by hand, and many of the buildings in our area were dug by Thompson Landscaping. As a Presbyterian, he was a deacon, elder, and chosen by the denomination as the Presbyterian Man of the Year. His grandfather built the historical Presbyterian Church in West Limestone on Highway 72, and hand carved the pulpit.
As hard as Doc worked, his family will tell you he also knows how to play. He loves Glenn Miller music, and would dance with his kids. He proudly said he could do the Twist, the Monkey, the Swim, as well as ballroom dancing, and apparently was good on the trampoline. He also loved to play cards, bowl, water ski, and go deep sea fishing. His best friend was Harold Smith, who owned L&S on North Jefferson. The men and their families spent a great deal of time together, and were inseparable.
We moved on to the topic of favorites, and the first “fave” was football. There is no team other than Alabama.
Favorite color: Crimson
Favorite food: All kinds of seafood, especially shrimp
Favorite song: The Old Rugged Cross
Favorite scripture: The whole Bible, which he has read many times. Janet says she has never known a man who knew the Word better than her dad.
Favorite President: JFK
The biggest change in his lifetime: 9/11 and its aftermath
He has a dog named Lucy, a lovable mutt who is waiting for him at home when he finishes his physical rehab regimen at the Center. Lucy is spoiled, loves lemon pepper chicken, and while Judy was still alive, she would make chicken for Lucy.
Doc loves the tender treatment he gets at Athens Rehab and Senior Care, and while I was there, a cup of coffee was brought to him, complete with three sugars, just the way he likes it. He has been at the Center a total of 4 times for rehab, and each time has been given the best of care. He was involved in digging the foundation of the Center when it was built more than 50 years ago, and still remembers the length of the halls! He also volunteered his services to dig the foundation for several Habitat for Humanity homes as well as the Hospice building. Christ, his family, friends, fun and volunteerism have been his lifelong passions.
What is his advice to young people? “Put Christ first, and try to do the right thing at all times.” He then added, “Volunteer!” Words of wisdom from a man who has lived a full and blessed life, Charles “Doc” Thompson.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner