Alvin Thompson


March 31, 1928 - June 21, 2019


Alvin O. Thompson, age 91, died on Friday, June 21, 2019 with his loving wife, Margene, at his side in the Firesteel Health Center in Mitchell, SD.  From his birth on March 31, 1928, to his death on Friday, he lived with a quiet and abiding faith in Christ, love and joy in his family and wide circle of friends, and unwavering commitment to service of the nation and community.  

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 at 10:30 am at Storla Lutheran Church, Letcher, SD.  Pastors John and Paul Knudson will officiate.  Interment will follow at Trinity Cemetery with a meal following at Storla.  The family will greet relatives and friends at Bittner’s Funeral Chapel, 805 W. Havens, Mitchell, SD from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019.  Prayer service at 7:30 pm.

He was born at home on a farm in rural Letcher to Pete and Darlene (Hunter) Thompson and was the third of four children. He was an agile, playful child with a love of the outdoors, sports and music.  In high school, his athletic prowess, speed, and competitive nature were assets to the basketball and track and field teams. He also enjoyed tooting his trumpet in the band and raising his melodious voice in the school and church choirs. 

Alvin graduated from Letcher high school in 1946. At age 24, he felt duty bound to enlist in the Air Force in service to his country.  He served a year in South Korea at the end of the war.  A personal experience during his basic training facing down and defying segregation in the deep South marked his vision of fairness, equality, and inclusion.  During service, he was highly regarded as a skilled airplane mechanic and quickly earned the confidence of his commanding officers. He was also honored to sing with the Shepherd Key Noters.

He came home to South Dakota to join the family farm in 1956.  He married Kathryn (Knudson) in 1957.  They had three boys together.  Kathryn died in 1965.  A few years later he went to the Twin Cities and enrolled in a Technical School to earn his credentials to serve as a commercial aviation mechanic.  

In November 1967, Alvin attended a Lutheran Single Parent’s meeting in St Paul, where he met Margene Collins Zahn.  Alvin and Margene were married in St. Paul on March 16, 1968 surrounded by the love of four blended families. On October 15, 1968, through a dual adoption service, the family became one; Alvin adopting Margene’s three girls, and Margene adopting Alvin’s three boys. 
The next period of his life was filled with all the activities of a large family---diligence, hard work, and service to church and community. But, the man with the twinkling eyes also made time for fun.  After a long day in the field or hog barns, he liked nothing more than shaking off the dust of the day on the pounded dirt court shooting hoops with his sons or challenging any one of his children to a foot race.  As his daughters expanded their music abilities, he scooted next to them on the piano bench joining his voice with theirs.  He was an amateur photographer and loved capturing the images of his growing, dynamic family.  He also liked his motorcycle and had memories making trips with his wife and life-long friends. 

Alvin lived an engaged life marked by service; he was a deacon and trustee at Storla Lutheran Church, a member of the men’s choir, and active in Gideons.  He also served his community as a thoughtful school board member.  

He was known as a kind, gentle man, a great listener.  Even in his last days, new friends flocked close to be blessed by his spirit.  

Left to honor Alvin and remember his love are his wife of 51 years, Margene, and their children, Mark (Delia), Doyle, Elizabeth, Susan (Brian) Dodd, Cindy (Keith) Gerlach; their grandchildren, Victoria, Matthew, Jessica, Melissa, Amy, Becky, Jamie, Zane, Gabrielle, Jesse, Hunter, Daewood and Maddi; and great-grandchildren, Brian, Mark, Connor, Sadie, Mason, Kenzie, McKenna, Braelee, Brooklynn, Cooper, Jeremy and Jackson.  His sister, Eileen (Tobin) and brother, Norman.  Members of the extended union of the four families: John (Marj) Knudson, David (Miriam) Knudson, Paul (Bobbi) Knudson, Phillip (Cathy) Knudson, Stanley Collins, Mary Ann (Erik) Wersen, Dennis (Gloria) Collins, Dean Wood, Morris Zahn, Mavis Zahn.

Alvin is predeceased by his parents, his son, Marlon, grandson, Jeremy, brother Denton (Janet).  Joining him in heaven, extended family members, Lloyd (Susanna) Collins, Norman (Bev) Collins, Sharon Mortinsen, Kay Wood, Otis (Stella) Knudson, Henry (Grace) Zahn Sr, Myrtle (Louis) Anderson, Mildred (Pete) Makelki, Margaret (Ralph) Paulsrud, Henry, Jr and Evonne Zahn.



Tuesday, June 25, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
7:30 PM Prayer Service

Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 West Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Wednesday, June 26, 2019
10:30 AM
Trinity Lutheran Church
24305 393rd Ave
Letcher, South Dakota 57359


Trinity Lutheran Cemetery
24305 393rd Ave
Letcher, South Dakota 57359

Posted by Marilyn Gunnare on June 26, 2019
I did not really know Alvin, but I have been visiting my uncle at Firesteel for a year and four months now. At Christmas time I took my uncle around with candy canes to all of the residents. We visited with Alvin and when he learned my uncle had been in the Korean War, he saluted him and sang the Air Force anthem to us. It was a very touching moment and one I will not soon forget. I thought of that day every time I saw him in the halls. I will miss seeing him at the home. My husband knew him and said he was a wonderful man. God's peace to you all as you bid farewell.
Posted by Doug & Sina Glover on June 26, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Watching the video you can tell that family was his top priority. May all your wonderful memories of him quickly replace the sadness in your hearts that you are feeling.
Posted by Val & Dawn Luckett & Family on June 25, 2019
thoughts and prayers to you all
Posted by Marie Hunt on June 25, 2019
A special man, and a leader of all the members of his special family. Walk with God Alvin. Prayers for all your family and friends.
Posted by Sandie Reecy on June 24, 2019
So very sorry to hear of Alvin's passing, so enjoyed him at Firesteel.

Posted by Sheri Breland Koeck on June 24, 2019
Our sympathy goes out to all the Thompson families. Always loved to visit with Alvin whenever and wherever. Great memories!
Posted by Terry & Mary Nutter on June 22, 2019
Our condolences to Doyle & all of Alvin’s families. He was always fun to visit with whenever you would see him.
Posted by ROBERT AND DOROTHY PARKER on June 22, 2019
Posted by Tom Riddle on June 21, 2019
So sorry to hear of Alvin’s passing,such good people when I was their ups man,have some funny episodes
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