Wayne Calvin Thompson

August 13, 1931 ~ April 13, 2022 (age 90)


Wayne Calvin Thompson, 90, passed away April 13, 2022. Wayne was born August 18, 1931 in Marshfield, Oregon to Calvin Thompson and Ione Merritt Thompson. He was one of six children. He grew up in a big, loving, idyllic family. Wayne lived all of his life in Coos Bay. He married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Jean Costelloe in 1950. Together they had four children, Bruce (Jan) Thompson, Kelly (Scott) Thompson-Poore, Blake (Carolyn) Thompson, and Amy (Mark) Ramsden. Wayne and Barbara divorced in 1974, but maintained a special friendship until his death. Wayne married Mary Gray, which ended in divorce a few years later. With her persuasion and insistence, he had two knee replacements, which was a feat for a guy who didn’t go to the doctor! That kept him walking and biking until his passing.

Wayne had a single minded determination that set him apart from all others. When Pete Susick, his high school football coach, told him that to play the position of fullback, he needed to work on neck exercises, Wayne returned for summer practice with a 19 ¾’’ neck! He wasn’t known as a fast runner but he could hit ‘em hard!

Anything he was interested in was always attacked by the same determination. As a young man, he wanted to be a machinist. He read the Machinery’s Handbook from cover to cover. For the average person that would be like watching cement harden. Wayne’s oldest son Bruce learned the trade from him and they went on to work together for 25 years. Men under his guidance learned a great deal from his leadership. He was exceptional at the marine trade, excelling in boat shaft work. Wayne would sit and look at a difficult job and figure out a way to get it done. As foreman of Koontz Machine, he was a remarkable teacher and mentor to his crew. He was greatly respected by those who worked under him.

Wayne always had a love for outdoor activities. He involved his kids in those activities, instilling a lifelong love for the outdoors in each of his children. He liked to explore and knew every back road in the state of Oregon. He spent summer weekends camping with the family, backpacking the Kalmiopsis and Rogue River trails, fishing, picnicking, bicycle riding, exploring hot springs, fly fishing for summer steelhead on the North Umpqua, hunting in the fall with extended family and taking drives in the woods.

Wayne’s daughter Kelly shared his love for backpacking and camping by creating experiences with many friends and family, as well as her own children and grandchildren throughout the years.

Wayne was known to spend a lot of time thinking and studying before making a move. He was fishing with his two sons on the Rogue River in 1966. He observed for a long time before they even put their fishing lines in the water. His determination always came into play, as the three of them caught 11 spring Chinook in two days! Bruce was 14 and Blake was 10 years old.

Bruce remembers a boat moved in on Blake’s fishing spot. Wayne tossed a large rock near the boat and told them the next one would land in the boat. Well, they decided to give the young kid his spot back. He never said much, but they got the message!

In 1980, Wayne was fishing alongside Bruce in their boats. Wayne commented that he was tired of the slow fishing and he was done for the year. Bruce and his buddy told him they were coming back the next weekend. The next weekend rolled around and the friends’ keen ear recognized Wayne’s Evinrude coming up the river. Surprised, they asked him why he came this week after all. He replied, “Well, my wife said I can’t go fishing.” He was a man of few words. That was all he said.

Wayne loved bicycling with untold miles. He had several favorite rides on back roads in wide open country. One of his preferred rides was from Powers Junction to Camas Valley and back, 78 miles roundtrip. Bruce accompanied him on one of those rides when Wayne was 62 years old and recalls being four miles behind him on the way home. Wayne Thompson wasn’t fast, but he was steady!  He was known for his patience and quiet demeanor. He was one to listen more than talk. He believed that we were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason, and he lived by that.

He taught Amy to tie her shoes and write many letters in the alphabet at two years old. She was able to tell time at a young age because of his persistence and well-timed teaching moments. He encouraged his children to think through decisions and not to react. One of his sayings was, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Wayne took a lot of pride in his fitness and dietary routine. He was involved in “the Fat Man’s Club” playing basketball at Marshfield High School in his middle age, rode a bike for decades, and walked miles a day into his 90th year. He set a strong example. He finally quit riding a bicycle after many accidents landing him in the hospital. He had multiple fractures over the years that required intensive care and immobilization. His daughter in law, Jan Thompson, was always there to take him in and nurse him back to health.

It was always good to have Wayne in your corner with any technical difficulties. He had a keen eye and was mechanically inclined. Wayne, Bruce, and a group of family and friends owned old motorcycles for decades. They would tour many western states for a couple of weeks each summer, camping along the way. He would take the challenge of all the attending problems that go along with an antique vehicle. Wayne actually rode his 1944 Indian 230,000 miles! He and Bruce did many rebuilds on the Indians in the time they owned and rode them.

Wayne is survived by his children, Bruce (Jan) Thompson, Blake (Carolyn) Thompson, and Amy (Mark) Ramsden; his sister, Gayle Gaer; 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kelly Thompson-Poore; son in law, Scott Poore; parents, Cal and Ione Thompson; sisters and brothers in law, Vivian (Frosty) Mulkins, Tommy (Louie) Caranchini, Ardis (Bob) Banry; brother, Keith Thompson and brother in law, Frank Gaer.

Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at

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