Reverend Benjamin F. Thompson, Pastor Emeritus
“This is my Story, This is my Song – Praising my Savior all the day long”
Reverend Benjamin F. Thompson, a native of Louisville, Mississippi in Winston County, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Griffin (Leola) Thompson, entered life on April 2, 1926. Reverend Thompson was called from labor here on earth to reward to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on April 20, 2022.
Reverend Thompson, affectionately known throughout the community as “Rev.” was one of eight children born to his parents being the youngest son. Reverend Thompson was raised in a rural, tight-knit community tending to crops and farm animals. He attended elementary school in Louisville, Mississippi and later matriculated at Mary Holmes Junior College in West Point, MS where he received his high school diploma and Associates Degree. Upon completion of his studies at Mary Holmes, Reverend Thompson was given an opportunity to study at his beloved alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology (1953) and three years later, he completed his Master of Theology degree at the same university. He once shared that he had been called to preach the gospel as a young boy growing up in Mississippi and he had the opportunity to follow his calling to ministry at Johnson C. Smith University. It was as a student at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte where Reverend Thompson met and married his first wife, Sarah Ayner (Morrison). The two remained married about 14 years and parented one daughter, Pamela C. Thompson Washington with Christian values and an abundance of love.
Reverend Thompson, as a young, passionate minister, was called to start ministerial work in Anniston, AL in 1956. Later, he was led to church assignments in Sweetwater and Maryville, TN (Blount County) where he led the congregation to build a church. This first church assignment began his long-standing career in ministry as a dedicated servant leader in the community. In 1963, Reverend Thompson found his home as pastor of Arlington United Presbyterian Church, Anne Manie, AL, Prairie United Presbyterian Church in Prairie, AL and Rock Spring United Presbyterian Church in Marengo County, AL. Even after 32 faithful years of continuous service to the Presbyterian Church, Reverend Thompson retired. His retirement did not last long as he was called to serve as the pastor of New Trinity Presbyterian Church in Camden, AL for four additional years. Reverend Thompson remarried in 1987 to Corrine B. Small Thompson and the couple shared a mutual love for Christ remaining married until her passing in 1992.
Reverend Thompson's devotion to church and community is unparalleled. Reverend Thompson’s love for the Lord and dedication to the uplift and progress of the community has been his passion since childhood. It is no secret he believed that if he could help someone along the way, his living would not be in vain and this belief is firmly rooted in the word of God. Its stands to reason that his favorite scripture has been “and he answered saying thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind… and thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). One of his favorite songs “Lord I want to be a Christian” tells of one’s desire to live holy and be like Jesus. As he would sing this song, his eyes and heart would fill with joy and delight even at age 96.
Many among us can attest to his humility, love and compassion. He often would say that “you can't beat me loving” or “I love you more” as means to express the magnitude and depth of his love. Rev. loved to meet friends in the community and say “what’s going on big shot or shot” as he sought to get caught up on the latest news of their lives. Among his many loves was his unwavering dedication to his family roots in Mississippi as evidenced by all his siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins who share the pride of being a part of the Thompson family. “Uncle Ben” was always so proud to see his family members attend college and go on to accomplish great things. He was even more proud to be a positive influence sharing values and encouragement for generations to come.
During his tenure, as a minister Reverend Thompson, in collaboration with Rev. Thomas Threadgill, started a preschool program to service young children at two sites in Wilcox County, Prairie and Camden. These programs met the educational and developmental needs of hundreds of pre-schoolers who otherwise may not have had the opportunity or the resources for such instruction. Reverend Thompson has served on the Wilcox Board of Education from 1984 to 1990 and during his tenure he promoted the notion of building a centralized high school for the county which came to fruition. He also was blessed to lead the Arlington U. P. Church members into a new church as their pastor. Rev. Thompson was actively involved in the political agenda of the times often lending his support to not only democratic contenders but local candidates as well. In his later years, Reverend Thompson served on various boards and committees to address the needs of senior citizens and community development. Over the years, Reverend Thompson has received numerous awards and recognition throughout the state.
As the old Christian hymn goes, “May the works I’ve done speak for me… May the life I live speak for me”. Reverend Thompson lived his life as an example of integrity for the honor and glory of God. He is a true testament to God’s love for each one of us. He allowed himself to be the vessel to minister to his congregation and to support the Kingdom of God. The great legacy of Reverend Benjanin F. Thompson can be found in each one of us as we practice; a legacy of God’s love, true forgiveness, compassion towards others and our community.
Reverend Benjamin F. Thompson is preceded in death by his wife Corinne Thompson, siblings, Archie D. Thompson, Walter James Thompson, Dave Thompson, Abbie Turnipseed, Florence Hunt, Gertrude Coulter, and Leona Love and beloved Goddaughter Doris J. Mason
Reverend Benjamin Thompson leaves to cherish his memories his devoted daughter, Pamela Thompson Washington, granddaughter Johnita Mason Mendenhall (Brady), grandson Avery L. Washington, stepdaughter, Bobbie Small Hutcherson (Chester), Cynthia Harris, Jacquelyn Harris Dean (Devin) Grandsons, General Mason Jr. (Nechell), Ernest Mason, blended family: Carrie Hudson, Rev. Steve Small Jr., Truman Small (Sharon), General Mason Sr. In addition, an entire host of nieces, nephews, cousins, loved ones and family friends. Special Acknowledgments are given to Mrs. Sophiline Champion, Ms. Maxine Ross, Mr. William Anderson, and Ms. Gloria Winter.