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Posted on December 3, 2015 | 9:08 a.m.

Robert James ‘Jim’ Thompson of Santa Barbara, 1923-2015

Source: Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels

Robert James Thompson, known to everyone as Jim or “SeaLevel” and a longtime Santa Barbara resident, passed away peacefully at his home on November 26, 2015.

Although he had lived in Santa Barbara for more than half his life, Jim Thompson was a decorated navigator with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. (Thompson family photo)
Although he had lived in Santa Barbara for more than half his life, Jim Thompson was a decorated navigator with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. (Thompson family photo)

Jim was born on September 2, 1923, in Winnipeg, Canada, and lived in Santa Barbara half of his 92 years of life. He was a man small in stature but big in honor, love and hope for all around him.

In death, he joins his wife and lifelong love, Evelyn Lorraine, and is survived by four children, Margaret Crowder (Wallace) of Florida, Jeannie Hatten (Mark) of Idaho, Ken Thompson (Michelle) of Santa Barbara, and Debbie Hennie (Allen), also of Santa Barbara.

He is also survived by granddaughters Antonina Gaudin, Shannon Blomst, Kristen Oh and Lisa Davis, and three great-grandsons, Kyle Reid, Anthony Gaudin and Nicholas Gaudin.

As a decorated Canadian Navigator, he earned seven medals during his Royal Canadian Air Force service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star and War Medal, the Bomber Command Bar, the Canadian Forces Decoration, the Defence Medal, and the France and Germany Star, as well as receiving a lifetime achievement award for his service.

He was a longstanding member of the 902 RCAF Aero Camino wing in Santa Barbara.

Jim was an avid bowler, a pilot, and an usher and faithful member of his church, All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito.

After his first term of service in the RCAF, he attended Carleton University in Ontario, Canada, earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce. After retiring from the RCAF in 1968, he moved the family to Santa Barbara and started his career as a social worker for Santa Barbara County, where he worked for the better part of two decades before retiring in 1988.

“We Lead” was the motto of one of his squadrons, and this seems to have been the motto of his heart as well. Ever the leader, kind and fair, he truly led us all as he fought the good war.

Viewing will be held at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel, 15 E. Sola St. in downtown Santa Barbara from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 10, 2015.

All are welcomed to church services that will be held at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 83 Eucalyptus Lane, at 11 a.m. December 11, 2015, with graveside services immediately following at Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive. 

Please join us to celebrate his life at a reception after the services from 1 to 4 p.m. at Cody’s Café, at 4898 Hollister Avenue west of Turnpike Road.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his name to Carleton University in Ontario, Canada.

The family would like to thank the staff of Country Gardens for the wonderful care, kindness and love given to our Father. and for the support and well wishes he has received from his many friends. He loved this community, and it is apparent that his love was whole-heartedly reciprocated.

As said by a friend, and felt by all who knew him: “That he should die on Thanksgiving is poignant, because it is men like him that we should all be thankful for — for his service, his example and his wonderful spirit.”

lace at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at All Saints By The Sea Episcopal Church. Interment will follow at Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Arrangements are by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.


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