School 09

Clarence Elmer Thompson

April 13, 1930 ~ April 2, 2019 (age 88)



Clarence Thompson passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 2. He was preceded in death by his parents, Emma (Hemsing) Thompson and Carl Thompson of Kindred, ND, and his wife of 47 years, Maxine (Dyrdahl) Thompson of Grand Forks, ND.  Clarence is survived by his only child, Anne Thompson and his daughter-in-law Gabrielle Calkins of Grand Rapids, MI, his dear friend Tim Orange, and his four nieces and nephews.

Clarence was born in Kindred, ND and graduated from Kindred High School. Education was extremely important to his family. Clarence received a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in biology from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), a Master’s in Biology and Botany from the University of North Dakota, and advanced post-graduate work in anatomy from the Schools of Medicine at the University of North Dakota and University of Vermont. He started out his teaching career in Plumber, MN, (where he met his wife, Maxine) and later taught high school biology and anatomy at Central High School in the Grand Forks (ND) Public Schools. After retiring from his public school role, Clarence went on to become an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anatomy at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, where he taught for over  twenty years. Clarence’s teaching honors were numerous, but most notably, he was selected as Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year for the State of North Dakota in the 1973-1974 school year. He was recognized as a recipient of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce’s Sunflake Award in recognition as Teacher of the Year. Clarence was also a Bard Fellow at Bard College, NY in the summer of 1981, a keynote speaker at graduation for his alma mater, Kindred High School, Faculty Adviser for Sigma Phi fraternity at the University of North Dakota, and the first recipient of the Gamma Sigma Alpha Outstanding Faculty Award. In 2004 he was inducted into the Grand Forks Public Schools Teacher Hall of Fame. His life as an educator spanned over forty years where Clarence made a lasting impact on numerous students over his decades-long career.

In 1960, he married Maxine Dyrdahl in Gully, MN. Clarence and his wife Maxine made their home in Grand Forks, ND. While living in Grand Forks, Clarence was active in community organizations, and at Calvary Lutheran Church. He was a member of the Grand Forks Planning and Zoning Commission, the Grand Forks School Board, Chair of the Grand Forks Symphony Board, and a charter member of the Grand Forks Master Chorale. At Calvary Lutheran Church, he was a member of the Church Council and Chair of the Worship and Music Committee.  Growing up Clarence’s family had a love for music. Throughout his undergraduate year at Concordia, he sang with the Concordia College Choir and continued singing into adulthood with the Calvary Lutheran Church Choir and the Grand Forks Master Chorale.

After the passing of his wife, Clarence moved to Grand Rapids, MI, to be with his daughter, Anne. This enabled him to attend numerous orchestra concerts and travels with his daughter. Clarence’s travels were many and diverse during his life including several trips to his ancestral homeland, Norway; visits to London and Rome; Accra, Ghana; Canada; Alaska; Hawai’i; and several national parks. He was often accompanied by his tag-along – daughter Anne.

His daughter would also like to extend her gratitude for the expertise, kindness, and compassion of his Spectrum Health doctors and nurses as well as the staff at the Village of Heather Hills.

Clarence will be remembered in both Grand Forks, ND, and his adopted city of Grand Rapids, MI.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI                                                                         GRAND FORKS, ND

Thursday, April 11                                                                            Saturday, April 27

Zaagman Memorial Chapel                                                              Calvary Lutheran Church

2800 Burton St. SE                                                                        1405 S 9th St.

Grand Rapids MI 49546                                                                  Grand Forks, ND 58201

Visitation: 4:00pm-7:00pm                                                           Service: 10:30am

Time of Remembrance: 7:00pm-7:30pm

With Clarence’s love of music and his church, he requested donations in honor of him be made to Calvary Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, ND, in order to support the music program

To send flowers to Clarence's family, please visit our floral section.


April 11, 2019

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Zaagman Memorial Chapel
2800 Burton St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Time of Remembrance
April 11, 2019

7:00 PM
Zaagman Memorial Chapel
2800 Burton St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Memorial Service
April 27, 2019

10:30 AM
Calvary Lutheran Church
1405 S 9th St. Grand Forks, ND 58201
Grand Forks, ND 58201

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