Gary Helmer Thompson, age 76, died Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Highline Medical Center. He was born in Rugby, ND on November 17, 1942. Gary graduated from Rugby HS in 1960. His work with the Minute Man Missile Program took him to multiple states until he ended up in Washington where he finished his career as an inspector at Boeing.
Anyone who knew Gary can attest to his love of the outdoors. He was a true steward of the land, whether that be his backyard and garden, or federal forests and hunting grounds. He was a master archer and avid hunter, earning numerous state championships and places in the record books (check out his caribou mount at Work Sports in Enumclaw). His ability to cultivate a garden and find coveted wild chanterelle and morel mushrooms was unmatched. Gary’s Garden had an open gate policy, a testament to his generosity, and servant’s heart.
Not only was Gary an expert in all things outdoors, he never passed up an opportunity to share his craft and teach anyone willing to listen. Those he taught walked away with not just new skills, but a deeper appreciation of the beauty of nature. Gary’s legacy will remain in the faithful students who took his words to heart.
Preceded in death by father, Helmer and mother, Lyla. He is survived by sister, Gayle of Williston, ND; wife, Darlene of Enumclaw; daughters, Rebecca Latham of Enumclaw and Brenda (Devin) Nickol of Omaha, NE, Marissa Mackay of Enumclaw; grandchildren, Lilliana, Jett, Elliott, and Malcolm; and stepdaughter, Crystal Carlson. He is also survived by numerous friends who were family, including honorary pallbearers Avniel Skipworth, Norm Frusti and lifelong friend Kathie Thompson.
Donations to honor Gary can be made directly to: Plateau Outreach Ministries, where he spent countless hours at the foodbank and making bread runs; Flint Tip Archery Club, Enumclaw, where he was a tireless advocate of maintaining the range and fostering a true community; or Hope Lutheran Church, whose lawn never looked greener than when he took care of it.
To send flowers to Gary's family, please visit our floral section.