Larry Thompson passed away unexpectedly at home April 4, 2014. Larry was born in Alabama May 9, 1945.
Larry graduated from Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, S.C. where he played football for the Spartanburg Crimson Tide. He then went on to receive his bachelors degree at the University of Alabama. He liked to tell people that he had gone to the University of Alabama and played football for the Crimson Tide which technically was true. Larry also studied at the University of Mexico City. After his studies he moved to Germany where he lived for 5 years. Returning to the U.S. Larry found his way to Oregon. He lived in Rogue River for a few years before moving to Ashland.
He taught Spanish for many years at Hidden Valley High School, retiring in 1999. He told his students they could refer to their teacher as Mister Thompson, Senor Thompson, or El Jefe Maximo. He always spoke fondly of his students. Larry was a lifelong student, particularly of languages. He spoke Spanish, French, Russian, and German and during the last few years had been obsessed with learning Mandarin.
Larry was also a fine musician and played multiple instruments but will be forever associated with the banjo. His favorite music was oldtime music from the southern Appalachian mountains. He particularly loved listening to old recordings of Charlie Poole and the Skillet Lickers. He played in several local bands over the years including the Liberty String Band, Scratch and Howl String Band, and Hamfist, but mostly Larry enjoyed just playing tunes with his many friends. Larry was truly a character. He could be irreverent, cantankerous, intellectual, creative, generous, and charming.
Larry was predeceased by his parents, Daisye and Mark Thompson and his brother, Mark Thompson. Larry is survived by his longtime partner, Sanya Brown and her children, Jacob and Aurora van Ausdall; niece, Anna Thompson of Washington; nephew, Mark Thompson of Alabama; sister-in-law, Shirley Thompson of Alabama; and numerous friends whose lives will not be the same without him.
A memorial potluck and jam session will be held at Pioneer Hall in Ashland Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Bring your musical instruments and memories of Larry. Memorial donations can be made to Modern Roots Foundation (modernrootsfoundation.org) or a charity of your choice.