Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, September 13, 2021
2:30 PM EDT
Kentucky Artisan Distillery
6230 Old Lagrange Rd
Crestwood, MI 40014
Everyone is encouraged to attend and honor Stephen by wearing bright, cheerful colors.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
7924 Vine Crest Ave
Lyndon, KY 40222
Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs.
Life Story / Obituary
Ethical, compassionate, and hard-working, Stephen Thompson lived a life rich in family and friends. Stephen was a man who embraced every moment as an adventure and an opportunity to learn and grow. He never hesitated to take a risk and encouraged others to be courageous as well. With a great mind, Stephen was a natural puzzler who often came up with creative solutions to complex challenges. Regardless of life’s challenges, Stephen lived a whole-hearted life. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend who cherished nothing more than sharing time with his loved ones. A powerful role model of how to live life to the fullest, Stephen will long be remembered and ever so missed.
1943 marked a time when the war effort in Europe directly impacted all American lives. While countless young people actively served in the trenches of WWII, those who remained stateside poured their energies into supporting the war effort in any way they could. While Ford and GM converted their plants from automobile manufacturing to the building of bombs and aircraft engines, an unprecedented 18 million women proudly worked the manufacturing jobs once held by the men who were now overseas. Providing a sense of respite from the daily struggles, Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller filled the airways, Lassie Come Home dominated the television, and the musical Oklahoma took the stage on Broadway. For David and Frances Thompson, it was a particularly exciting time as they welcomed their son, Stephen, into their family on October 14.
The youngest of the four Thompson kids, Stephen grew up in the good company of his older brother and sisters, David, Sheila, and Nancy, in Altadena, California. From the start, he was a mischievous kid who was always looking for a thrill. He got his first car at the age of 12 and was known to hang his car engine from a tree limb in the yard. Though his brother bailed him out of trouble a few times, Stephen learned best by doing and understood the value of mistakes.
Raised Catholic, Stephen attended Catholic schools. After graduating from high school, he attended Cal Poly, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in food science. Among the first to graduate with a degree in production, a highly sought-after education at the time, Stephen began working for Hunt’s. He also worked for Libbys and Heublein.
Stephen married Vicki Thompson, with whom he shared 53 years. During their years together, they moved dozens of times across the country as Stephen pursued professional opportunities and raised four children together. Sheri, Katy, Stephen, and Paul were the centers of their lives, and Stephen worked hard to provide for them. An intense thinker, Stephen had a hard time turning off his mind. He’d often wake up in the middle of the night calculating incredible equations. The best way for him to take a break from his brain was to sail. Over the years, he had a lot of boats and sailed many waters, including the harbors in Southern California and often in the good company of his children.
A man who enjoyed good bourbon, Stephen was hired by Brown-Forman. His job included traveling all over the world, building distilleries. In time, he left the company and built his own distillery in Crestwood called Kentucky Artisan Distillery. Never one to shy away from a calculated risk, Stephen understood that making mistakes was an important facet of learning. He not only embraced his own mistakes, he accepted the mistakes of others, especially his employees. With understanding, compassion, and integrity, he took good care of his workers, supporting them at every turn. He started many businesses, including a marina in Cumberland, Kentucky. When he needed his boat to be fixed, he built his own marina for the job. Another endeavor he took on was the Royal Flush, a company that removed toilets off the trains, refurbished and reinstalled them.
As his children grew into adulthood and had families of their own, Stephen joyfully welcomed his new role as a grandfather. Carly, Sam, Mary, Jack, Mallory, Morgan, and Max were his heart’s delight. Whether fishing, taking a boat ride, tinkering on a project, exploring the fun park, or cheering on their latest endeavors, Stephen thoroughly enjoyed sharing in their lives.
Late in life, Stephen was blessed to reconnect with Linda Buccola. He and Linda first met in Kindergarten and made their first communion together. During high school, he asked his mom to find his kindergarten friend’s phone number so he could call her. The young couple dated for two years and attended prom together. Then she joined a convent. Linda left the convent after ten years and married another man. When Stephen saw her on Facebook in 2018, he reached out, and they reconnected. Their love blossomed quickly. They married on Valentine’s Day 2020, and they enjoyed gardening, yard work, and taking country drives. They enjoyed spending time with each other and sharing stories. It was like they could see into each other’s souls.
Without a doubt, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Stephen’s steadfast presence. May we find comfort in carrying his dynamic legacy forward. With each adventure we wholeheartedly say “yes” to, every risk we confidently take, smile we extend to another, and embrace we share with our beloved, we celebrate the many ways Stephen gifted our lives. And in this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
Stephen Thompson, age 77, died September 6, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Linda; children: Sheri (Todd) Tabor, Katy (Scott) Andrews, Stephen (Tiffany) Thompson, and Paul (Lacey Soriero) Thompson; and grandchildren: Carly, Sam, Mary, Jack, Mallory, Morgan, and Max. Cremation has taken place. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, September 13 at 1 PM at Saint Bernadette Catholic Church, 6500 Saint Bernadette Ave, Prospect, KY 40059. A reception will follow at Kentucky Artisan Distillery, 6230 Old Lagrange Rd, Crestwood, KY 40014. Visit Stephen’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Homes, 60900 M-40 Highway, Paw Paw, MI 49079 (269) 657-3870.