Thompson, Robert "Bob" Clell, Jr.

Served In The Navy, Greatest Satisfaction Was Enjoying His Family

  • Thursday, September 29, 2022
Robert "Bob" Clell Thompson, Jr.
Robert "Bob" Clell Thompson, Jr.

Robert "Bob" Clell Thompson, Jr., of Chattanooga, Tennessee, peacefully passed away in his home in the loving care of his wife on Sunday, September 25, 2022, after a long battle with progressive supranuclear palsy and cancer. 

The family wishes to thank his personal physician Dr. Nathan Hartgrove and the nurses, CNAs, chaplain and social worker of Hospice of Chattanooga, who provided comfort and support to Bob and his family.

Bob was born in Columbia, SC as the eldest son of Dr. Robert C. Thompson and Katharine Riddle Thompson, who preceded him in death. 

He graduated from McCallie School, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where he earned his MBA.  At the University of Tennessee, he was a member of the Delta-Epsilon chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. 

He served as a LTJG in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War as an Air Intelligence Officer in Anti-submarine Warfare Patrol Squadron Eight. Subsequently, he was promoted to Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve.  A Quilt of Valor was awarded to him in recognition of his service and sacrifice to protect and defend our Nation.  He was a Certified Public Accountant with Price Waterhouse in Charlotte, NC and the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville and Chattanooga, where he retired as Assistant Treasurer. Ever industrious, Bob re-entered the workforce with the United States Department of the Army, Missile Command, at the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL, where he retired a second time.

Bob was a member, elder, and Sunday school teacher at Hickory Valley Christian Church for many years.  For over 30 years, he worshipped at Silverdale Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he sang in the church choir.  His greatest satisfaction was enjoying his family, especially his grandchildren who called him “Poppy.”  Bob often spoke fondly of his memories with his own grandfather “Papa Riddle” (Elijah Meredith Riddle) and patterned this loving relationship with his own grandchildren, Caleb and Lauren.  He loved spending extended time with them in the summer going on picnics, riding trains, bicycling, golfing, visiting farms and museums, Disney World trips, and spoiling them as grandparents do.  Warm and gregarious with a marvelous gift of story-telling, Bob left his audience of friends, family, and acquaintances with smiles and frequently in stitches of laughter. 

Bob played soccer as a young man, coached in a youth soccer league and attended his grandchildren’s numerous soccer, baseball, and basketball games.  He was a faithful fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteer athletics, a love he shared with his son Jeffrey and grandson Caleb.  Bob enjoyed golf and hiking and especially the many friends he made in these pursuits.  Always a man of graciousness and humility, he briefly triumphed with a hole in one witnessed by his son at one of his favorite golf courses, Brown Acres. 

Bob and his wife Linda shared many happy moments together through their love of music, and Bob’s life was filled with beautiful and eclectic music.  He enjoyed his grandchildren’s piano recitals, his son’s violin concerts,  his wife’s organ and piano playing for her work in church and funeral services, banjo-picking tunes, hymns and gospel songs, symphony and choral concerts, and Elvis’s “Blue Christmas” (one of his favorite songs).  Bob served as a volunteer with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Youth Orchestras. He was a member of the Chattanooga Music Club and a faithful supporter of the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Performing Arts League, Bethel Bible Village, and Johnson University of Knoxville, of which he was an honorary alumnus.

Bob is survived by his wife of 52 years, Linda Caldwell Thompson; son Jeffrey Robert Thompson and wife Emily of Knoxville, TN; grandchildren Caleb Thompson, age 19, and Lauren Thompson, age 17, of Knoxville; brothers Dr. John Thompson and wife Carol of Newberry, SC, and Dr. Joseph Thompson and wife Patricia of Columbia, SC; nephews Brian Thompson, Horse Shoe, NC and Alan Thompson, Greeneville, SC and their families; and several cousins.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to the Dr. Robert C., Katharine, and Robert Jr. Thompson Scholarship Fund, Johnson University, 7900 Johnson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37998, or CurePSP, 1216 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001,

A private committal service with Dr. David Eubanks of Knoxville officiating will be held at Chattanooga National Cemetery with military honors.  A public Celebration of Life service is scheduled at 1 p.m. on Nov. 5 at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1505 North Moore Road, Chattanooga, TN 37411. 

Arrangements are by Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, North Chapel, 5401 TN-153. Hixson, TN 37343.

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Robert "Bob" Clell Thompson, Jr.
Robert "Bob" Clell Thompson, Jr.
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