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Friends, Family & Peers Honor Thor’s Thompson

Wade F.B. Thompson

Wade F.B. Thompson

Hundreds of families, friends and associates of Wade F.B. Thompson, the late co-founder, chairman, president and CEO of Thor Industries Inc., gathered today (Dec. 18) in a wintry New York City for a memorial service in his honor.

Thompson, who built Thor into a highly competitive, multi-divisional RV manufacturer based in Jackson Center, Ohio, passed away Nov. 12 after a 14-year battle with cancer.

The 11 a.m. service was held at the Seventh Regiment Armory, a historic Park Avenue art center that the 69-year-old Thompson had worked to restore. The armory’s 60,000-square-foot, seven-story high Drill Hall is named for Thompson.

In attendance were Thompson’s wife of 42 years, Angela; his children, Charles A.Y. Thompson and Amanda Jane Thompson Riegel; his daughter-in-law, Olya A.Y. Thompson; son-in-law, Richard E. Riegel III; and six grandchildren.

Richard ”Dicky” Riegel is Thor’s COO and co-chairman of the RV industry’s Go RVing Coalition.

Also in the audience was Thor interim Chairman Peter B. Orthwein, with whom Thompson launched Thor in 1980 with the acquisition of Airstream Inc. as well as representatives of Thor corporate and its independent RV divisions, Keystone RV Co., Airstream Inc., Dutchmen Manufacturering Inc., Four Winds International Corp., CrossRoads RV, Damon Motor Coach, Breckenridge, Komfort Corp., General Coach and commercial bus manufacturer Champion Bus Inc. So, too, were RV industry suppliers, association executives, retired Thor personnel and friends from New York City — to which Thompson was attracted during his early days in his native New Zealand.

Park Avenue Armory, site of today's memorial service for Wade F.B. Thompson

Park Avenue Armory, site of today's memorial service for Wade F.B. Thompson

Orthwein, Riegel, daughter Amanda, granddaughter Amelia, son Charles, cancer society officials and Armory representatives were among those who spoke at the memorial in which Thompson was portrayed as generous, adventurous, fiscally tight, “fiendishly” detailed, visionary, opinionated, “beligerantly honest” and as a man who “achieved the utmost American dream.”

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