April 21, 1939 – December 4, 2021

Jimmie and Deb Lewis
Jimmie and Deb Lewis examining his Cyperus specimen, summer 2021. Photo by Bill Norris

Note: See the extensive article entitled In Memoriam: Jimmie D. Thompson (1939-2021) beginning on page 7 of the January 2022 INPS newsletter.

Jimmie Dean Thompson, 82, died December 4, 2021 while engaged in one of his passions, fishing. Jimmie was born April 21, 1939, the son of Ray and Florence Thompson. He graduated from Milford Township High School in 1957. He served in the Army from 1962 to 1964. Jimmie retired from the Ames Post Office in 1997 after 33 years of employment.

Jimmie left his footprints across Central Iowa.

One of his favorite activities was fishing. Just ask and he would tell you how many days were left until the start of the next ice fishing season. Over the years he has caught many fish including a 30” walleye, a 40” muskie, northerns and many pan fish. Never ask him where he was fishing—he would never tell anyone except his fishing buddy.

Over the years he walked streams, rivers, and plowed fields and located over 250 Native American camping sites and some burial mounds. These were reported to the Iowa Archaeological Society.

Following these passions, he began to notice the plant life around him more and more. Curiosity eventually led him to start identifying them. Once he started finding rare or never seen before plants in Iowa he was hooked. He made life-long friendships and worked with the Ada Hayden Herbarium doing various long-term plant inventories and authored or co-authored six papers found in the Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science and in Castanea—The Journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society.

Over the years he received many awards for his work in the outdoors. The Story County Conservation Olav Smedal Conservation Award, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Hagie Heritage Award, the Conservation Leadership and Service as a Volunteer Award from the Iowa Nature Conservancy, the Supporter Award from Story County Conservation, and the very first Distinguished Iowa Citizen Scientist Award from the Iowa Academy of Science.

He has helped remove invasive species from the Ledges State Park and has spent hundreds of hours over the years to revive the Ames High School Prairie.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Iowa State University Foundation (2505 University Blvd., Ames, IA 50010) to benefit the EEOB Herbarium general support fund. Gifts to the Foundation may also be made online at: www.isuf.info/gift. Contributions may also be directed to the Iowa Native Plant Society (737 Buckwalter Dr., Sioux City, IA 51108).

See all memorial gifts.