Herbert Stanley “Stan” Thompson
- January 20, 2023
Herbert Stanley “Stan” Thompson
Herbert Stanley “Stan” Thompson, 90, died peacefully at his home in North Liberty, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2023, surrounded by his family. Stan enjoyed a life well-lived, with a boundless intellectual curiosity and a life-long love of learning. Stan was a loving son and sibling, a devoted companion and husband, a patient, kind and compassionate father, and a doting, generous and funny grandfather. He was, put simply, an exemplary human being as distinguished in his academic and medical pursuits as he was beloved by friends and family alike for his gregariousness and generosity. He loved well-made books, a fine port, ice cream, literally any ice cream, and egregiously smelly cheeses. To say he will be missed is more than an understatement.
His parents, Robert Ernest and Ella (Mulligan) Thompson had left their home in Belfast, Ireland, to serve as missionaries in China, and Stan was born on June 12, 1932, in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Like many of his generation, his early life was greatly impacted by World War II, and he and his family spent four years in a Japanese internment camp in Weixian. After the war, the family returned to Ireland, but one could say Stan’s childhood was international, moving between China, Ireland and Switzerland before finally coming to the United States with his siblings, Paul and Joan.
In 1949, he attended Wheaton College in Illinois where he met the love of his life, Delores Lucille Johnson. He and Delores married on June 27, 1953, at Rosehill Church, Langford, S.D. They would have celebrated their 70th anniversary this year.
A stint in the army as a hospital photographer (1954-55) stoked his interest in medicine, after which he attended medical school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After graduating from the U of M, he did a residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City in the field of Ophthalmology. After attending UCSF on an NIH Special Fellowship to study neuro-ophthalmology, Stan returned to the University of Iowa where he practiced as a neuro-ophthalmologist until he retired as a professor emeritus in 1993. Stan was a researcher and medical historian, and published many articles and reviews in the field. Stan founded the Iowa Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic, was its director for 30 years (1967-1997) and the Clinic now bears his name. His interest in the workings of the pupil of the eye stimulated pupillary research in Iowa City and made Iowa known around the world as a place where unusual pupillary problems might be solved. He was known as a patient and kind teacher, having mentored dozens of fellows in the Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic.
Stan’s other passions were his books and their 80-acre farm outside of Iowa City. In their early years on the farm, he and Delores spent hours tending to their sheep, cows, horses, chickens and goats. In his later years, in addition to maintaining the farm property, he amassed an impressive collection of illustrated books. In the early 1990s, he and Delores built a bookshop on their farm to house their collection of 10,000-plus books.
Stan was preceded in death by his parents, R.E. and Ella; and his siblings, Evelyn, Brian, Paul and Joan.
Stan is survived by his wife, Delores; five children, Geoffrey (Shauna McKusker) Thompson of Cheyenne, Wyo., Peter (Julie) Thompson of Cosgrove, Iowa, Kenneth Thompson of Cosgrove, Iowa, Philip (Tira Palmquist) Thompson of Irvine, Calif., and Susan Thompson of Minneapolis, Minn.; seven grandchildren, Connor Thompson, Grant Thompson, Ciara Thompson (Brendan Benoit), Colin (Cassie Berg) Thompson, Ben (John) Thompson, Maja Palmquist (Andrew Kerkow) and Jasper Thompson; one great-grandchild, Sylvie Thompson; and one great-grandchild on the way.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.lensingfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Iowa City Hospice (Iowacityhospice.org/donate/) or the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation (icplff.ejoinme.org/donate).