IMPERIAL — If one thing can be said of Dr. James Thompson, it is that he went above and beyond his role as a veterinarian.
This was evident Friday morning as hundreds of community members gathered to pay their respects to Thompson, who was killed in an airplane accident Oct. 14 near Tucson, Ariz.
Thompson’s brother, Joe, recalled the doctor’s love for books and dedication to animals at the service.
“James’ favorite place to read was in the bathroom,” Joe said to the audience. “Growing up in a family of eight with only one bathroom, you can see how that may have been a problem.”
After a few short stories, Joe encouraged everyone to share their own memories of his brother.
“By sharing your memories you can slowly begin to move forward,” he said. “Yet at the same time you can ensure that this passionate human being is never forgotten.”
In addition to sharing James Thompson’s love for books, Joe also recalled his brother’s dedication to the Valley’s Future Farmers of America.
“James was in FFA himself, so it’s easy to see why he felt compelled to do his part,” Joe said. “It’s just who he was.”
In appreciation of James Thompson’s work, various FFA members from Brawley, Holtville and Imperial were on hand to help serve food and share their own memories of “Doc.”
“He was an extremely caring person,” said Mariana Ruiz, a 16-year-old junior and FFA member at Imperial High School. “He let me help him repair my feeder calf’s hernia and didn’t even charge me for it. I don’t know of anyone else who would do that.”
Imperial FFA adviser Mike Campbell said Thompson’s absence would leave a tremendous void in the FFA community.
“You can’t say enough about Doc Thompson,” he said. “The things he did for the community and the kids were immeasurable.”
Despite his absence, many FFA members in attendance said they hoped to continue taking their animals to his practice, El Centro Animal Clinic.
“I don’t know that I could take them anywhere else,” Mariana said. “He’s done a great job training the people there, so I feel comfortable going back.”
As a result of Thompson’s passion and love for animals and people, the line between veterinarian and friend was often blurred.
“It was one and the same,” said Caitlin Johnson, a 22-year-old Imperial resident. “He was always ‘Doc’ to me but in a way he was a lot more than that. He cared for everything and everyone.”
Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or email@example.com
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