James R. Thompson

  • Born: May 8, 1936
  • Died: August 14, 2020
  • Location:


James R. Thompson

Longest-serving governor of Illinois

James R. Thompson was a Republican former governor of Illinois, who served from 1977 to 1991 and was the longest-serving governor in the state's history. For full obituary and coverage from Legacy.com, click here.

Condolence & Memory Journal

I am so sorry about the loss of Governor Thompson. I no longer live in Illinois so Ive been totally out of touch. The Thompson family has my deepest condolences. I pray that you will be surrounded continuously with love and support.

Posted by Jenee    November 17, 2020

I had the honor and privilege to work for Jim Thompson. He was the best boss I ever had. In 1973 I was appointed chief of the narcotics prosecution unit in the United States attorneys office in Chicago by him. He was the best.

Posted by Michael Marrs - Stevensville, MI - friend   September 25, 2020

My condolences.

Posted by A friend   September 17, 2020

Governor James Thompson was friendly, kind and fun. He had a great memory. Love, Shirley Mann Red Bandana Antiques & Collectables (retired)

Posted by Shirley Mann - Chicago, IL - friend   August 31, 2020


Deepest sympathies to the former First Family, may the Governor rest in peace...I have very fond memories from when I was a little girl going to work with my mother at the mansion. Blessings to all,
Claire Dowling

Posted by Claire Dowling - friend   August 30, 2020

Dear Mrs. Thompson, Please accept my deepest and most sincere sympathy upon the death of the Governor. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to have had the privilege of working at the Executive Mansion during the Thompson administration. Historic things happened on many occasions, however most important were the extraordinary acts of kindness you gave to me and my family. They will never be forgotten.


Marge Heissinger

Posted by Margaret Heissinger - Springfield, IL - friend   August 29, 2020

God bless Big Jim! Rest In Peace and May the perpetual light shine upon him...

Posted by D & P - Chicago, IL   August 24, 2020

God Bless you in Heaven Prayers to you and your Family Samantha & Grandaughter for everything there going thru. God Bless You, Michelle Lefrere

Posted by Michelle Lefrere - Springfield, IL   August 20, 2020

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Posted by S Banks - Bellevue, NE - acquaintance   August 20, 2020


While he was governor we took our children ages 4&8 to see the Capital. We saw the governor walking down the hallway and said hello and could we take a photo with him and the children. He graciously posed for the photo. I had it developed it and mailed it to his office to have it autographed. It wasn’t long before the photo was returned. The photo was hung on the wall for many years, the children were very proud of it. My husband and I were always impressed that the Governor walked back to have a photo done and talk with children on i’m Sure a very busy day for him.

Posted by Janie Jenssen - Rolling Meadows, IL - friend   August 20, 2020

I wanted to send my condolences to the family of James Thompson - the State of Illinois' former Governor.
It was such a shock when the news reported his passing.
Mrs. Thompson - please know that my heart is broken from the passing of your wonderful husband - our former Governor.
I hope that you and your daughter and granddaughter take some comfort in knowing that everyone in the State of Illinois feels for the loss of your husband.
Sending my deepest Condolences

If you need someone to talk to - or just to listen - please feel free to call. I know that you have thousands of family and friends - but if you need to talk to someone not in your immediate circle - I would be honored to talk with you.
I never met Governor Thompson - but I feel that I knew him - just from his presence on TV.

Posted by Sandra G. Burkes    August 19, 2020

God Bless James Thompson. He Is Now In A More Beautiful Place. And God Bless His Entire Family As Well.

Posted by Losa Parker - Chicago, IL   August 19, 2020

Our sympathy for you and your family. He was a good Governor. He was always caring for others.

Posted by Anna Greenawalt - Crete, IL   August 19, 2020

We are so sorry for your loss. The Thompson family is in our thoughts and prayers.

God bless,

Al and Gloria Moran

Posted by Al Moran - Arlington, TX   August 19, 2020

Sending my deepest sympathy to the Thompson family...I have the privilege of meeting James several times as Governor

Posted by Rabbi Bob Rosen - skokie, IL - friend   August 19, 2020

In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.

Posted by Evelyn Banie - Westmomt, IL - neighbor   August 19, 2020

May God Bless His Entire Family. May He Now Receive His Greater Reward In Heaven. Once Again God Bless You.

Posted by Lisa Parker    August 19, 2020

My Condolences to the family

Posted by Paula Webber    August 19, 2020


Posted by Alishia - SC   August 19, 2020

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Posted by Simone Taylor    August 18, 2020

To the family of James Thompson. Sending prayers and words of comfort during this difficult time.

Posted by JE Sowell - Charlotte, NC   August 18, 2020

Hi how are you I was writing to you to give my condolences to you and your family etc.. rip. I will.miss him so. He seemed like a nice person. I loved his politics etc. Take care bye.

Posted by Jody Brachman - Acquaintance   August 18, 2020

Governor: Thanks for your outstanding service to both our nation and state. God Bless!

Posted by John Huff - Lisle, IL - acquaintance   August 17, 2020

My late husband and i were antiques dealers in the greater Chicago area for many years. We knew Governor Thompson and Jane Thompson quite well. He was in our home and we stopped at their home. He visited us at our shops and at the antiques shows. He was a serious collector. He was a honest governor and a fine person.

Posted by Barbara Kellar - Thousand Oaks, CA - friend   August 17, 2020

I had the honor or having dinner with Governor Thompson a few years ago. I could have sat and chatted with him for many more hours. His leadership, ethics and dedication to Illinois was remarkable. Rest In Peace and thank you for your service Big Jim. Greg Koeppen

Posted by Greg Koeppen - Acquaintance   August 17, 2020

I believe he was the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (i.e. Chicago) at the time I came to Chicago to work for the Dept of Justice as an FBI Special Agent. He was highly regarded by those I worked with. My condolences and sympathy to his family.

Posted by Steve Bland - Coworker   August 17, 2020

Family Album

James R. Thompson