Irvin L. Thompson
Irvin L. Thompson, 98, rode his bronc through the gates of Heaven on January 14, 2014, at the Philip Nursing Home.
Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. at the Faith Community Center with Pastor Harold Delbridge officiating. Burial will follow at 2:00 p.m. at the White Owl Cemetery.
Visitation will be noon until 7 p.m. at the Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis on Friday.
A memorial has been established to the Marcus Hall.
Irvin, the sixth of eleven children, was born on the family homestead near Marcus to Edwin and Anna (Brevik) Thompson. He attended Barada School through the eighth grade but was not allowed to attend high school. Consequently he valued education and made sure all his children graduated high school. His family moved to Forrest City, Iowa, where he began working on various farms. In 1936, the George T. Addams Rodeo Company came to town. Irvin rode broncs at one of their performances and was hired on the spot. When the company left town, Irvin went with them for the next two years, traveling throughout the southeast and eastern United States. They went from Florida, where Irvin said, “I didn’t like them damn alligators” to northern Minnesota and Canada, “where there were too many mosquitoes” in their travels. They were to perform in Madison Square Garden but sat up outside away from it because, “the place was a damn, dirty, smelly pit”. In between summer travels he wintered in Menard, Texas with his friend, Calvin Segauser “The Pecos Kid” and family. The last of the thirties and early forties found him back in South Dakota rodeoing in weekends, working on ranches, skinning cat for Wally Knight, and starting his own herd of cows. On August 13, 1945, he married Marian Howie at Sturgis. Irvin worked on South Dakota ranches near Thunder Butte, Faith, Green Grass, Isabel and Timber Lake before moving back to the home place at Marcus in 1967. Marian and the four children born to them, Adele, Alton “Bub”, Vicky and Earl moved to each spot and called it home. While raising their family, Irvin was a 4-H club leader, Farm Bureau president, County Farm Bureau president, president of the Timber Lake Saddle Club, director of the Dewey County 4-H Rodeo, and member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Timber Lake, where he was on the Building Committee. Irvin was active in the Faith Stock Show spending many unpaid hours as the ring steward of the horse show. He was a South Dakota Brand Inspector and did the back tagging at Faith Livestock for the South Dakota Livestock Sanitary Board. He worked for many years as an assistant to Dr. Wayne Sletten, traveling the countryside vaccinating cattle from Parade to Reva. He loved this because he met and visited with so many wonderful people. Nothing made him madder than “some so-and-so that wouldn’t visit”. Irvin and Marian loved dancing and were known for their dancing ability. He assisted many young South Dakotans get started riding bulls, broncs, and breaking horses. One young man he helped was the legendary Casey Tibbs who used Irvin’s bronc saddle and equipment before he had his own. As Jim Traversie said, “Irvin had a steel trap memory” and he told wonderful stories of early day South Dakota ranching and rodeos. Young and old would gather round to hear his stories and gain some horse knowledge. Irvin was believed to be the last surviving South Dakota member of the old original Turtle Association, previously known as the RCA, Rodeo Cowboys Association and now called the PRCA or Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Proud to have shared his life are his children, Adele (Denver) Enright of Timber Lake, Alton “Bub” (D’Anne) Thompson of Marcus, Vicky (Harold) Waterland of Marcus, and daughter-in-law, Corinna Thompson of Faith. Also surviving him are nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Preceding him in death were his wife, Marian; his youngest son, Earl; his parents and in-laws; four brothers; three sisters; five brother-in-laws; four sister-in-laws; one niece; and one nephew.