Philip James Thompson was born August 26, 1933 at Sacred Heart Hospital. The third of five children born to Frances and Paul Thompson, legend has it that Phil was born with the brawny build that he maintained his entire life. Except for a few years away at college and a few more for service in the Army, Phil lived within blocks of his childhood home in the Gonzaga University neighborhood, with an ever-present view of the majestic spires of Saint Aloysius Church.
He attended St. Aloysius Grade School, Gonzaga Preparatory School, Santa Clara University, Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Law School. He proudly helped the 1952 Gonzaga Prep football team win the Greater Spokane Championship. He played football at Santa Clara in California for two years until the program ended, and then moved back home to attend Gonzaga University. Phil was on a path to the priesthood when captured by the charms of Colleen Powers, to whom he remained joyfully married for more than 65 years.
The influence of his Jesuit education was evident throughout his life, his career choices, and his role in public service; he was the consummate servant leader. Phil contributed to the community in many ways, including presiding as a District Court, Superior Court and Appellate Court Judge; serving as law professor and Corporate Council for Gonzaga University; and serving on the boards of Providence Services, the Bishop’s Council, and innumerable professional boards.
Phil made many significant contributions to his community professionally as a public servant, and personally as a reliable and beloved friend. But it is through his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren that his loving legacy will live on. He played, he coached, he counseled, he comforted, he bolstered, he admired and most importantly, he was a constant presence in the lives of the many he loved.
He is survived by his wife Colleen; children Ann Gillum (Mike), Kathleen Thompson, Dennis Thompson (Sarah), Colleen Fuchs (Tom), and Matt Thompson (Therese); eighteen grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; his sister Catherine Armstrong (Ken), and many beloved nieces and nephews. Though he endured the loss of his baby brother Denny, sisters Donna and Pauline, his parents, infant daughter Baby Colleen, and son Philip, he led a faith-filled life imbued with joy, laughter, service, and dedication.
Phil’s discerning mind, his keen wit, and his goodness will always be remembered and missed by the many who loved him.
A rosary will be held at 1:00 pm at St. Aloysius Church on Thursday, June 10th, with funeral services to follow at 2 pm. The church will be open to guests beginning at 12:30. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations may be made to St. Aloysius Parish, Joya Child and Family and Development, or Hospice of Spokane.
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