James M. Thompson, Esq, well known and highly respected Attorney at Law in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, died at his home in the late evening of Friday, March 15, 2019. His death ended his pain and suffering and struggles from debilitating health issues that began May 13, 2018.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Teri-Sue (Young) Thompson, of the home, in Grandview, MO; his daughter, Denise, married to Michael MaGee, residing in TX; daughter, Shannon Livingston, residing in FL; daughter, Sharise, married to Chuck Powell, residing in KS; and step-son, Shane Rowland, married to Sunny (Staats, Husong); along with three grandchildren, Erik MaGee, Kelsi Graham, and Joe LoBosco; and two great-grandchildren, Andrew and Ava MaGee.
Jim was born on Dec. 22, 1934 to Leroy “Roy” and Stella (nee Walters) Vannoy in Joplin, Jasper County, MO and was their only child. As the story goes, after 2 or 3 years, Jim’s father left the house to purchase bread, but never returned home. The fatherless boy and his mother did not want for a home, however, as they were absorbed into his grandparents’ family home which often housed some of their offspring, consisting of six daughters and five sons. Jim had a happy boyhood and, as the only boy in the large peripheral family, received lots of attention as he grew up.
In 1939, Jim’s mother remarried. Jim’s step-father, Thomas “Tom” Thompson became the good father that Jim had never known, and legally adopted him and gave him his name. The family of three enjoyed their days together until Tom, a lead smelter, developed tuberculosis. Tom spent time in and out of a sanatorium in his last few years, and died in 1946 after only 6 ½ years of marriage.
Jim often worked for extra money after school and on weekends in his grandparents’ grocery store. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1952, continuing his education at Joplin Jr. College for two years followed by his years at University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he combined his undergraduate and, beginning in 1956, his law programs, graduating from both in 1959. During these years, he worked full time in order to support himself and pay for his education costs. He also served in the US Marine Corps Reserves from Nov. 1953 to Nov. 1959 after finishing Boot Camp at San Diego, CA.
He was sworn in as Attorney at Law on Sept. 20, 1960 in KCMO, and immediately began his practice of law. He would practice his profession for 58 years before illness prevented him from further engagement. Illness stopped him from office practice, but he continued to express concern about the plights of his clients, ruing that he was unable to be personally available to them. He represented thousands of people over the years, but was known to attract a number of those who were disadvantaged, as he truly empathized with them and, consequently, chose to keep his fees as reasonable as possible.
Jim could be seen frequently working out at a local fitness center, enjoying bodybuilding/weightlifting throughout his adult life. It was in this capacity, as well as in the practice of law, that he became a mentor of younger aspirants.
Jim will be sorely missed by his family, friends, colleagues and clients. Chances are, though, that he will not be forgotten by anyone with whom he was personally involved. He was indeed one of a kind: He was genuine and down to earth, and cared little for impressing others. His integrity was above reproach. His word was his bond.
It was a standard phrase of his, whenever his kids would ask him, “What would you like?” for the next festive occasion, “I just want some peace and quiet.” He has well earned that wish. We are grateful that he is now resting in peace.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 22, followed by funeral services at 6:00 p.m. at Longview Funeral Home, 12700 SE Raytown Rd, KCMO. Burial will take place Saturday, March 23, at 11:00 am at Mt. Washington Forever Cemetery.