Morris Maynard Thompson, 92, died Aug. 29 at his home in Durango of natural causes.
Thompson was born Oct. 31, 1919, in McKenzie, N.D., to Charles W. and Anna Hamre Thompson. He attended public schools in McKenzie and Moffit, N.D., graduating from Moffit High School in 1938.
From 1939 through the summer term of 1941, he attended Minot State Teacher’s College, receiving a two-year teaching degree. While there he took a government Civilian Pilot Training course, receiving his private pilot license.
After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program, graduating from the 42G advanced flying school in Roswell, N.M., in June 1942 with a pilot rating of second lieutenant. He was then assigned to a twin-engine medium bomber group that had been formed by members of General James Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders.
In a raid over Italy, his aircraft was hit by flak, causing his crew to bail out. He spent 19 months as a prisoner of war in Germany.
Upon returning to the United States in 1945, he married Gladys Edholm in Spokane, Wash. They had two sons, Greg and Roger.
In addition to numerous military assignments in the United States, he had foreign service in Japan, Taiwan and Iceland. After 22 years he retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.
Through the GI Bill, he continued his education at Trinity University in Texas, receiving a bachelor of science degree in education.
In 1965, he moved to Durango and accepted the position of a sixth-grade teacher at Needham Elementary, which he held for six years. He then worked for several years as a lift operator at the Durango Mountain Resort. Later, he limited his activities to fishing at Electra Lake and golfing at Hillcrest Golf Club.
He was a Life Member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 507, and a member of the Hillcrest Golf Club.
Thompson was preceded in death by a son, Roger.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Gladys of Durango; son, Greg Thompson, of Durango; sisters Irma and Lila; brother Harold Thompson; two grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place with the ashes interred at Greenmount Cemetery.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at the First Baptist Church of Durango, 332 E. 11th Street. Pastor Jeff Dobesh of First Baptist Church will preside.