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Clint Thompson, a Community Foundation founder, dies at age 96

Robert Clinton "Clint" Thompson, one of the founders of Community Foundation of Henderson County, died Oct. 29, 2013 at the age of 96.


"We were saddened to learn of the death of Clint Thompson, who was instrumental in the creation of Community Foundation of Henderson County more than 30 years ago," said McCray Benson, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. "We are grateful for all that Clint and the other founders did to establish the Community Foundation. Because of their tireless efforts and great foresight, our community is an even greater place to live."
Born in Watertown, Mass., Thompson graduated from Amherst College and Boston University law school. He served in the U.S. Army as an officer in intelligence, finishing his time in the military with the rank of captain. Thompson worked for 30 years as assistant advertising director for J.C. Penney Co. He was married to Shirley F. Thompson, who died May 25, 2011, and they raised two sons. After Thompson retired, the couple moved in 1979 from Sea Cliff, N.Y. to Etowah.
Newly arrived to the area and looking for community activities, Thompson was asked by the late Philip R. Milroy, a retired general manager of General Electric Lighting Systems, if he would help found a local community foundation. In early meetings with other community leaders, Thompson said the group worked to define how a local community foundation might be beneficial in Henderson County.
"The more we discussed it, the more enthusiastic we became," Thompson said in an interview a few years ago.
Thompson led the efforts to create bylaws for the Community Foundation and was involved heavily in the formation of the Community Foundation's first gift acceptance policy. He served on the board of directors from 1981 to 1987 and again from 2000 to 2002. Thompson was board secretary from 1985 until 1988, and his committee work included serving on the Community Foundation's investment, gift acceptance, communications, and development committees.
Thompson also was a friend and neighbor of Richard J. Scott and Betty M. Scott, who, in 2002, left a bequest of more than $14.2 million to the Community Foundation, the largest gift ever received in the Community Foundation's history. As recently as this past year, Thompson would ask about funds he worked on in the early years, such as the Scott fund and others.
"Clint was humble with regard to his role in the founding of the Community Foundation and his influence that resulted in a remarkable community organization," Benson said. "Clint Thompson the man, community leader, and humanitarian will always be remembered, as well as his influence felt in our community."