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Wed, 2012-06-13 15:07

Richard Thompson 1930 -2012

Authored By: Weinberg Harris

Richard Harte Thompson of Malvern, Pennsylvania:  Father, Grandfather, and avid supporter, participant, and enthusiast of equestrian Three-Day Eventing, Beagling, land conservancy and equestrian sport communications, passed away on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

Mr. Thompson, who grew up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, attended the Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania, St. Andrews School in Middletown, Delaware, and Penn State University.

During his youth, Mr. Thompson developed a passion for the sport of Beagling. This led to his deep involvement with The Adrossen Beagles in Villanova, Pennsylvania and the National Beagle Club in Aldie, Virginia.  It was at the Beagle Trials in Aldie, Virginia, where Mr. Thompson met his future wife: Vita Cowperthwaite Thompson.  They married in 1958, and the couple settled in Malvern, Pennsylvania with their sons, Richard Harte Thompson, Jr. and James Knox Thompson.

The Thompsons soon joined The Radnor Hunt Club, where they developed a mutual passion for the sport of Three-Day Eventing. Spanning more than five decades, the Thompsons volunteered countless hours for The Radnor Hunt Three-Day Event, and Radnor Races.  Mr. Thompson was a Founding Member and Chairman of the Radnor Three-Day Event.  He was a committed volunteer, longstanding member, activist, and was currently serving as The Radnor Hunt Club President.  He was also a founding member of the Waynesborough Country Club, and a current member of Aronimink Golf Club.

Community service was a centerpiece for Mr. Thompson throughout his life.  He volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician for the Berwyn Volunteer Fire Department.  He was a supporter of land conservation, and served on the Planning Commission for Willistown Township from 1969-1981.  He was committed to supporting the Brandywine Conservancy, and served on the Willistown Township zoning hearing board from 1982 to present.

Mr. Thompson’s philanthropic interests centered around his passions.  He prided himself on supporting the United States Eventing Association (USEA), the United States Equestrian Team (USET), Radnor Hunt Club, St. David’s Episcopal Church, Paoli Memorial Hospital, and the Brandywine Conservancy.  At the time of his death, he was a Trustee of the United States Equestrian Association (USEA) Endowment Trust.

The Thompson’s mutual affinity for Three-Day Eventing horses and competition spanned five decades.  During this time, their horses made significant contributions to the United States Equestrian Team’s (USET) national and international success.  Most notable of their horses were:  Mr. Maxwell, UpStage, Joker’s Wild, St. Barths, Regal Scot, and Castlewellan.  Most significant of all was Biko:  the 1996 Olympic Silver medalist, 2006 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Hall of Fame inductee and ‘Horse of the Century.’

Mr. Thompson received numerous awards and recognition for his dedication to equestrian sports.  His proudest honor was that of the United States Combined Training Association’s  (USCTA) Governor’s Cup.   This honor is not awarded annually, but is bestowed to one who has made the greatest commitment and personal contribution to the sport. Additionally, Mr. Thompson served on the USCTA Board of Governors from 1982-1987, and served as Treasurer in 1984.

Mr. Thompson will forever be remembered for another aspect of his involvement in the equestrian world.  He was an announcer, communications manager, timing and technical coordinator through his Sea Horse Communications andOx Cap companies.  After serving as a Three-Day Eventing competition volunteer at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, Mr. Thompson then became the Discipline Manager for Three-Day Eventing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was also the Manager of the Competitions Communications Center at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Lexington, Kentucky.  Equestrian participation, community advocacy, and charitable endeavors were endemic to Mr. Thompson.

His business acumen included founding and operating the Thompson Equipment Company and serving on the Board of Directors of the Logan Coal & Timber Association Company.

With all of Mr. Thompson’s contributions and successes, Mr. Thompson most enjoyed being home at his beloved Sea Horse Farm (Malvern, Pennsylvania).  He found great joy in mowing the fields on his tractor while accompanied by his dogs.  He reveled in fixing and tinkering with his equipment and gadgets, and in simply embracing life on the farm.

Mr. Thompson was predeceased by:  his wife Vita Cowperthwaite Thompson, his father Rodman Ellison Thompson, his mother Helen Harte Thompson, his brother Paul Thompson II, and his sister Maria Ames Thompson McIlhenny.

His sons survive him:  Richard Harte Thompson, Jr. (Diana D. Thompson) of West Chester, Pennsylvania. and James Knox Thompson of Middleburg, Virginia.  His brother, Rodman Ellison Thompson of Berwyn, Pennsylvania; and grandchildren:  Richard Harte Thompson III, Taylor Ames Thompson, and Margaret Ring Thompson.

A memorial service will be Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 3:30 p.m., at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Road, Wayne, Pennsylvania.  A celebration of Mr. Thompson’s life will follow at The Radnor Hunt Club, Malvern, Pennsylvania.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in memory of Richard Harte Thompson to either:  The Paoli Hospital Foundation, 255 West Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301 or to The Department of Orthopedic Surgery, C/O Penn Medicine Development, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.


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