Friday, October 31, 2008

Leonard Thompson

Well over 50 years ago my father stopped into a remote little airport with one runway in West Palm Beach. He was on his way to Miami to look for work flying seaplanes and stopped into this little airport to look around. He met Leonard Thompson there and Leonard offered him a job flying for Bahamas Air on the spot. This was the beginning of a life long friendship with my parents and the Thompsons. They moved to the Bahamas and my older brothers, Rick and Mike, spent their earliest years there. Leonard became my brother Mike's godfather and they managed to stay in touch over the years. Leonard let Mike live with the family when he was getting his pilot's license after college and later, when Mike and Louise married and had children -they would visit Leonard in Abaco. When their daughter Whitney married Kevin, they chose a tiny island in Abaco for the ceremony...interesting that three generations have stayed so connected as the result of one chance encounter.

Leonard Thompson passed away in late October.

Following are remarks delivered by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham at the official funeral service for former Abaco Member of Parliament Captain Leonard M. Thompson in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, on Sunday, October 26, 2008.
In his well-known inspirational poem, If, the poet Rudyard Kipling sets out what he regarded as the necessary qualities and characteristics for one who would aspire to the grand title of "A Man."
The poet set a high bar indeed with many challenges, many exacting demands, many tests of character, many very big ifs. So high is Kipling's bar that the number of those who would rise to it, I would venture to say, would not amount to a multitude.
Yet, he who was once a barefoot boy in Hope Town, Abaco, came to be an outstanding man on whom, I believe, the poet would have willingly and enthusiastically placed his stamp of approval.
Leonard Maurice Thomp-son led a most extraordinary life in which he demonstrated that he could indeed keep his head under the most trying circumstances.
He demonstrated that he had not only the determination to succeed but the patience to wait when waiting was necessary.
He was a dreamer who did not allow dreams to become his master but rather an inspiration to achieve great things for himself, his home island of Abaco, his country and – it is not an exaggeration to say – the wider world."


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