The Fund for American Studies mourns the passing of Michael Thompson Sr., who served as vice-chairman of its Board of Trustees for more than 40 years. Thompson died on Sept. 7, 2019, after battling leukemia since last November.
Theodore Roosevelt observed, ‘The greatest gift life has to offer is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.’ That observation was embodied in Michael’s life. TFAS is one of many beneficiaries, an important aspect of his legacy. While we will miss him and often think of him, we will always be better – a better organization and better persons – because of him.” – TFAS Chairman Randal Teague
TFAS chairman Randal Teague remarked, “Mike served as TFAS vice-chairman from 1975 because our principal founder David Jones had a reliance on the combination of Mike’s thoughtfulness and capacity for hard work. David’s successors shared that view. Mike brought to our discussions important ‘What about this? What about that?’ questions, somewhat different perspectives, and we valued them.”
TFAS President Roger Ream added, “Mike blessed us with his good humor, love of country and abiding friendship to all who were blessed to know him or work with him. He knew his battle against Leukemia would be his toughest, but he fought it with all his might while keeping his positive attitude right up until the end. His TFAS legacy is multiple generations of students who are honorable leaders dedicated to the institutions of a free society, thanks to his deep commitment to our work.”
Michael Thompson was the founder and long-time president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, a Virginia-focused public policy foundation dealing with the issues of education reform, economic development, government reform and environmental stewardship.
Prior to working for the Thomas Jefferson Institute, Mr. Thompson was the owner and president of the Thompson Creative Marketing Group, a marketing and public affairs company in Springfield, Virginia. He was also the president of the Mather Furniture Company, a family-owned business in Georgia. He is the past chairman of the Virginia Leadership Council, the state’s Board of Directors for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business organization.
Mr. Thompson was an active leader in the Virginia Republican Party and served in many leadership capacities at the state and local level. He was named by Campaigns and Elections magazine as one of the 30 most influential non-elected Republicans in Virginia.
He was active in his community and served on several Fairfax County commissions and task forces. His community service included three terms as president of the Springfield District Council, an organization representing over 200 homeowner associations.
Thompson is survived by his wife Katherine, daughter Liza Graves, son Michael Jr., who is an alumnus of two TFAS programs, and five grandchildren, including Katie Thompson who attended TFAS this past summer.
Reflecting on Thompson’s life, Teague said, “Theodore Roosevelt observed, ‘The greatest gift life has to offer is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.’ That observation was embodied in Michael’s life. TFAS is one of many beneficiaries, an important aspect of his legacy. While we will miss him and often think of him, we will always be better – a better organization and better persons – because of him.”