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Retired Thompsons Ltd. chief Wes Thompson, 87

A small family service is to be held Friday for the second-generation head of storied Ontario commodity handler and ag retail firm Thompsons Ltd.

Wes D. Thompson, son of company founder Wesley G. Thompson and president of the family business from 1950 to 1993, died Monday in hospital in Chatham, Ont. of unspecified causes at age 87.

Thompsons Ltd., which started in 1924 under the senior Thompson, now serves producers in Ontario, Minnesota and North Dakota.

The company owned and operated 12 elevators, 11 retail farm centres, two seed processing plants, five bean processing plants and a wheat processing plant by the time it was sold to two U.S. firms, The Andersons and Lansing Trade Group, in July last year. [Related story]

The younger Thompson had taken over as president of what was then known as W.G. Thompson and Sons at age 24. He expanded the company’s holdings in crop commodity handling and ag retail from four locations in 1950 to 17 by 1993.

The younger Thompson also oversaw the establishment of the company’s grain marketing arm, in 1970.

Wes D. Thompson’s son Wes T. Thompson and four other third-generation Thompson cousins still had ownership stakes and management roles in the company when it was sold last year.

The Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame, into which Wes D. Thompson was inducted in 2009, noted his “responsible positions in a host of farm and community organizations” and that he also inspired “admiration and affection for his humanitarian qualities.”

Wes D. Thompson served stints as president of the Ontario Bean Dealers Association and the grain section of the Ontario Grain and Feed Dealers Association, and as chairman of the Ontario Agricultural College’s Ridgetown campus agricultural committee.

He also served on the Royal Agricultural Fair board, the Farmers’ Grain Financial Protection Program task force and the 4-H Club of Ontario Foundation’s board of trustees.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Thompson’s memory may be made to the Chatham-Kent Network



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