Carroll Thompson

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Carroll Thompson was born on his family’s farm in Warren County, Indiana, the third of six children.  Carroll was the baby in the family for seven years before the last three children were born.  His parents were farmers all their lives and over the years had livestock such as milk and beef cattle, hogs, sheep and chickens.  They grew various crops including oats and soybeans.  Carroll learned to milk cows when he was five years old and did it twice daily.  The children had to make their own entertainment, the favorite being riding the calves!  Carroll’s parents did not have much education but instilled in their children the importance of it.  Every day, the bus would pick them up at the farm for a ten mile trip to school.  All six graduated from high school at a time when many never made it past the eighth grade. 

Following his graduation, Carroll worked for his father on the farm for two years.  In 1953 toward the end of the Korean War, Carroll enlisted in the Marine Corps.  He was assigned to the 4th Marine Regiment and sent to Nara, Japan.  Carroll was given two weeks of Morse Code training to become a radio operator.  While on leave that same year, Carroll married his high school sweetheart, Arleen.  He served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina until his discharge.  By this time his parents were farming in Illinois, but Carroll and Arleen returned to their roots in Indiana.  He worked at a feed and grain elevator until he broke his arm.  While recuperating, he and Arleen went to Illinois to visit his ailing mother.  During their trip, Carroll stopped by the Shaffer Brothers Gulf gas station and garage where his brother worked.  The owners offered him a job on the spot and he accepted.  So, he and Arleen packed up and moved to Danville, Illinois, where he worked for thirty years as a mechanic and partner in the business.  Carroll and Arleen had six children, five boys and one girl.  Unfortunately, they lost one of their sons at age 5 after a short illness. 

After a lifetime of frigid winters, the Thompsons moved to Hillsboro, Texas, to be near their daughter and grandchildren.  Carroll worked for the City of Hillsboro as a mechanic for another ten years.  It had been important to both Carroll and his wife that they each find a hobby so they would never be bored in their later years.  Arleen became an expert at creating beautiful arts and crafts, while Carroll became a master woodworker, making everything from bookshelves to coffee tables, rocking chairs and even a grandfather clock for his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  

The Thompsons  also regularly attended  the Disciples of Christ Church where Carroll served in many positions including elder, trustee and chairman.  In 1995 while talking to others in his church regarding retiring ministers, Carroll stated that he wanted to minister to a congregation.  The words were not his, says Carroll, but the spirit speaking through him.  There was a small congregation in McGregor led by lay ministers.  Carroll went for a Sunday visit when one of the local volunteer firemen was scheduled to speak.  Right before the service began, the fireman was called to a fire and asked Carroll to fill in for him.  This was the first Sunday, followed by nine years, that Carroll would lead the congregation. 

In 2010, Carroll’s wife of 57 years passed away.  He felt that without her there was no reason to stay in Hillsboro, so he moved to Temple.  Since he had always been a contributing member of society, he ran for the position of Treasurer of the Frances Graham Hall Association, an office he has held for two years.  Carroll is also determined to stay in shape and walks nearly two miles every day, rain or shine.  He now attends the Belton First Christian Church and occasionally officiates at various ceremonies.  Carroll Thompson will never be one to watch the world go by – he will always be a participant.