William H. Thompson, 87

Westinghouse executive, World War II veteran

May 17, 2007

William H. Thompson, a retired Westinghouse executive and World War II veteran, died Saturday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care of complications related to a fall. The Towson resident was 87.

Born in Baltimore and raised on his family's Relay farm, the current site of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County research park, he was a 1937 graduate of Catonsville High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Mr. Thompson entered World War II military service as a lieutenant and was stationed in Iceland and England before landing at Normandy in June 1944. His engineering unit built bridges under enemy fire. A company commander, he attained the rank of major.

From 1947 to 1961, Mr. Thompson was an independent consulting engineer in Baltimore and a facilities engineer for Koppers Corp.

In 1961, he became a facilities manager for the Westinghouse plant in Linthicum and was responsible for the buildings, equipment and plant services for 14 structures covering more than 3 million square feet adjacent to BWI Marshall Airport. He retired in 1985 from what is now Northrop Grumman.

"Bill was the consummate professional, intelligent, honest, competent and hardworking," said his son-in-law, George Conklin of Ellicott City. "If Bill told you something would be done, you could count on it happening."

In retirement, he traveled extensively. He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the National Society of Professional Engineers, Boumi Temple, the Towson Elks Lodge and the Society of Colonial Wars.

Services are private.

Survivors include his wife of 32 years, the former Pauline Riffle; three daughters, Sarah Hendler of Reisterstown, Claire Conklin of Ellicott City and Lucille Wingate of Stevensville; and four grandchildren. His first wife, the former Dorothea Courtney, died in 1961.

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