Lewen Clay Thompson

Lewen Clay Thompson passed away on April 12, 2024 at the age of 87.  Clay was born on March 22, 1937, in Oklahoma City. After graduation from John Marshall High School in 1955, Clay went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from Phillips University in Enid, OK in 1959 and received a Master of Science from Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS in 1967. He did additional post-graduate studies at Emporia State, Kansas State, and the University of Oklahoma.

While at Phillips University, he met and fell in love with Nancy E. Garren. They married on June 28, 1957. They proceeded to have four boys! Brent, Steve, Jeff and Kenny.  He taught high school English, Drama, and Debate in Hoisington, KS from 1960-1967. He began his career as a secondary school administrator as the principal of Moundridge High School from 1968-1970.  After a move to Salina in 1970, he served as building principal at several secondary schools: Roosevelt Lincoln Jr. High, Central High School, and South Middle School from 1970 to 1995 when he retired from life as an educator.  Over his years in education, he was recognized with many awards and served in many leadership positions including Outstanding Speech Teacher in KS in 1965, Kansas J.C.’s Outstanding Young Educator in 1971, President of the Kansas State Teacher’s Association in 1974, and Kansas Outstanding Middle School Principal in 1992.

After retiring from the world of education, Clay followed in his mom’s footsteps and became a Realtor. He was with Coldwell Banker in Salina from 1995-2006. During that time, he served on many real estate leadership boards and committees which included a year as the President of the Salina Board of Realtors.

He was always involved with his community and served in many different capacities which included: President of the Downtown Lion’s Club in 1985, member of the Salina Urban Renewal Commission in 1973, served on the Rescue Mission Board for years, 2 terms as a member of the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission from 1988-1996, 2 terms as a member of the Salina Planning Commission from 1997-2004, a member of the United Way Board, member of Century 21 Committee appointed by Governor Graves in 2002.

Clay loved adventures, challenges and the outdoors.  He ran several marathons, hiked the Grand Canyon and many mountains.  He was also active in leadership at Sunrise Presbyterian Church serving in many capacities including Elder.

He is proceeded in death by his parents, Lewen and Betty Thompson. He is survived by his wife Nancy, a sister, Sally Hillis and a brother Bill Thompson. He and Nancy have 4 “boys,” Brent (Patty) Thompson, Steve (Penny) Thompson, Jeff (Mary) Thompson and Kenny (Amy) Thompson. They have 15 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren!

A visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 pm on Friday, April 19th at Sunrise Presbyterian Church. The Celebration of Life Service will be at 10:30 am on Saturday, April 20th at Sunrise. In lieu of flowers, memorials contributions can be made out to Sunrise Presbyterian Church or the Salina Presbyterian Manor in care of Ryan Mortuary 137 N 8th, Salina, KS, 67401