MCKINNEY, Texas — Eddie James Thompson Jr., 80, formerly of Covington, Ky, passed away on Oct. 11, 2016, in McKinney, Texas.
Eddie was born on Dec. 5, 1935, on a farm in Forrest City, Ark. to the late Rev. Eddie James Thompson Sr. and Mallie (Edmoson) Thompson. He was the oldest of six children. When he was 3 his family moved to Northern Kentucky where he attended Our Savior Elementary School and Lincoln Grant High School in Covington, Ky. He was active in many sports including basketball and football. At 16, he graduated high school and attended Kentucky State University. He left college to pursue amateur boxing, and ultimately became a successful professional boxer out of New York City. He fought under the name, “Machine Gun Thompson.” Eddie married his life-long sweetheart, Patricia Ann Kelly in 1956 and fathered three children, Eddie III, Delores and Kelly.
Eddie left boxing in 1963 to support his family, returning to Covington, Ky. where he defended his rights and championed the civil rights of others. Family and friends fondly called him “Champ;” a nickname that reflects both his positive spirit and influential persona. In 1963, he became the first AfricanAmerican to enter the Carpenters Union in Cincinnati. He taught many young African-American boys the trade during their teen and early adult years. He also founded his own construction company, American Urban Contractors. In 1972 Eddie became president of the Model Cities Advisory Board in Northern Kentucky; and in 1977, became Executive Director of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation in Northern Kentucky. Eddie also was the first African-American to run for mayor of the City of Covington, in 1979. Although his campaign was not successful, his set the trail for others to follow, and his leadership gave voice to issues then facing Covington’s African-American community. In 1988, he and a group of Northern Kentucky voters challenged the rules of the Democratic National Convention because, as then applied in Kentucky, they violated the “one-man, one-vote” rule.
Eddie is survived by his wife, Patricia Ann (Kelly) Thompson, to whom he was married for over 60 years.
Also surviving are his children, Eddie James Thompson III, Delores Ellen Thompson, and Kelly Joy Thompson; his six grandchildren, Marcus P. D. Thompson, Shauna M. Finnie, Eddie J. “Ejai” Finnie, Jock L. Thompson, Twyla C. Thompson, and Morgan K. Saunders; nine great-grandchildren; and many, many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Five siblings predeceased Eddie, Walter W. Thompson, Betty Jean Thompson, Rudell Thompson, Edward Thompson and James Thompson.
Graveside funeral services will be held on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, at 1 p.m. in Mound View Cemetery, 307 Wooster Road, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050.
The Lasater Funeral Home is handling the arrangements Thompson family.
In lieu of flowers, those who desire may make donations to the Fisher Center for Alzeheimer’s Research Foundation on Eddie’s behalf at: https://www.alzinfo.org/dona te/donation_form/.
To express a condolence or to share a memory with the Thompson family, please visit www.lasaterfuneralhomes.com.