Medical 08

C. Thomas Thompson, MD

February 2, 1925 ~ June 17, 2022 (age 97)

Obituary

After a storybook life of 97 years giving joy, love and to a wealth of family and friends, C. Thomas Thompson, MD, FACS, known to all as CT, passed away on June 17, 2022 at his home in Tulsa. Born in Brookhaven, MS to C. Tatman and Margaret (Johnson) Thompson on February 2, 1925, Tommy joined his twin sisters Gerri (Geraldine) and Peggy (Margaret) in moving to Estherwood, LA in Arcadia Parish where his father was principal of the local school and his mother a teacher. A beautiful small southern town of 300 , Tommy grew up with grounded parents, loving (“The Twins”) sisters and friends in this small rural area. Whether it was playing Roilie Poilie, learning the clarinet for the high school band or playing all sports in the Estherwood HS class of 1941, he embraced and excelled in life and its adventures (alligators included). Graduating at 16 as his class valedictorian (class of 13), the impending war drove many of his life decisions. He started his college education at Louisiana Normal Teachers College (Now Northwestern State University in LA) in Natchitoches, LA on a baseball scholarship until the soon to be World War II depleted his baseball team. He volunteered at 17 (with his parent’s consent) and joined the US Navy.

The US Navy had a plan for C.T. Thompson, sending him to Ole Miss Medical School first, followed by Harvard Medical School where he graduated at the top of his class at age twenty-three, having already served eighteen months as a Navy corpsman in World War II. Dr. Thompson then completed a surgery residency under Dr. Alton Ochsner at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. During that time, he also served as a flight surgeon with the Second Bomb Wing of the newly formed United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command at various Royal Air Force bases in England. Following his residency, Dr. Thompson served for one year as a surgeon in a United States Marine Corps, 1st Division mobile combat hospital in the Korean War, operating on wounded soldiers near the front lines.

On Jan. 1, 1956, he chose Tulsa to begin his professional surgical career, driving in on Highway 66 with his family in tow. He practiced at both St. John and Hillcrest early on before helping to form the surgery and eventual trauma departments at St. Francis Hospital. In 1964, he was a founding member of Surgical Associates which formally moved to exclusively practice at SFH in 1966. While at Surgical Associates, he was known for his compassionate care, attention to meticulous detail and his warm heart and hands. While practicing with Surgical Associates, Dr. Thompson served as Chairman of the Saint Francis Medical Executive Committee overseeing the Saint Francis medical staff for the next twenty-six years. He also served on the Saint Francis Board of Directors’ Executive Committee for twenty-five years. After retiring from surgery, Dr. Thompson was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer of Saint Francis Hospital, a position he held for a number of years until a permanent CEO was located and retained. He then served as Chief Medical Officer of the newly-created Saint Francis Health System.


In the early 70s Dr. Thompson was elected to the national Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeon, the most prestigious and influential group of physicians at the time. This body oversaw the development of policy to inform the federal and state governments of the resources hospitals must have to care for serious injuries as, at the time, survival from critical trauma was poor. Shortly after joining the COT to represent Oklahoma, Dr. Thompson was elected the COT chairman and began to transform the work of the committee using his past military and heavy clinical experience as one of Tulsa’s busiest general surgeons. His leadership was transformative as he demanded that the patient be the central focus of every policy, program and training course sponsored by the ACS. He led the development of an optimal care of the injured patient document and to this day through numerous editions continues worldwide as the resource to develop trauma systems, centers and professional staffs. At the same time his greatest contribution was making the hard work of the COT fun and rewarding to all that participated. His wit, sense of humor and love of people made everyone around him feel special and important- the surgeons, their spouses, and families. People lined up to “volunteer’ to be a part of the Committee and the country’s best talent amalgamated at an unstoppable pace to solve greater problems. He never once sought the spotlight, mentored generations of young surgeons both near and far from Tulsa and left an indelible mark on improving our lives.

CT was married to Mary Helen (Sage) in 1945, having son Christopher Thomas (Lynne) in 1949 born in New Orleans, daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) Thompson Kennedy (Tom) in 1954 born in New Orleans and son John McRae (Kathy Bogart) in 1957 born in Tulsa.

CT then married the pirate love of his life in 1980, Anna Rebecca (Parsons) Simcoe, embracing with endless love his new children, Jane Elizabeth Tillotson born in Tulsa in 1962 and Steven William Simcoe (Shannon) born in Tulsa in 1965 to round out the gaggle of five. (Ask all about the infamous CT driveway talks!)

CT was grandfather to Thomas John Kennedy, Jr. (Hayden), Dr. Joseph Christopher Kennedy (Sarah), Joshua Bogart Speer (Nicole), Nashua Thomas Tillotson, Kyra Maureen Kennedy, Campbell Elizabeth Tillotson, Summer Sonnet Thompson, and Gage Steven Tillotson, and a great-grandfather to Thomas Graham Kennedy, John Brody Kennedy, Julia Elaine Kennedy, and Iris Lydia Kennedy.

CT leaves behind a wealth of friends, memories and truly endless stories. Special thanks to Michelle, David, Jerri, Cassandra, all of the Comfort Keepers, and Saint Francis Hospice. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity of your choice in his name.

CT also specifically requests that all who played in his bridge groups donate $50 each at the impending services, given to his favorite charity…his children.

Dr. C. T. Thompson: Surgeon and Hospital Administrator (voicesofoklahoma.com)
 

CT Valedictorian Speech 1941 - YouTube

The Life and Times of Estherwood - YouTube

 

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Services

Memorial
Saturday
July 16, 2022

11:00 AM
First Prebysterian Church
709 S. Boston Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74119
Guaranteed delivery before the Memorial begins

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