Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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Ben Thompson


Submitted by Alan Banks


Central States Archaeological Societies member


See also:
Recognizing A Csas Statesman: Mr. Ben W. Thompson by John T. Crowley
Central States Archaeological Societies 1999 January Journal

Remembering Col. Ben Wesley Thompson 1923-2017 by Steven R. Cooper
Central States Archaeological Societies 2018 April Journal

See Marcia R. Thompson Obituary

Ben Thompson 1923-2017

The Central States Archaeological Societies has lost one of its pioneer members and most ardent supporters. No one has a longer period of service to the organization than Ben and I doubt if anyone ever will. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater St. Louis Archaeological Society in 1964 and 1965 and became Editor-In-Chief of the journal 1966, a position he held through 1970. In 1971 he became Business Manager and served in that capacity until 1984. He served as Assistant Editor and was on the Editorial Staff from 1984 until 2004. So, he served in various offices for 38 years.

In his role as Editor and Business Manager Ben attended the annual CSASI business meetings for many years. Representatives from various states came and went but Ben was a stabilizing force because of his long knowledge of the organization and the respect the representatives had for him. Some of the meetings got a little boisterous at times but Ben was always able to smooth the waters. When the meetings were in St. Louis Ben and Marsha usually had an open house for out of state visitors which was a treat for the visitors.

Ben did much more than serve in the offices he held. He encouraged me to take on the job of Editor-in-Chief in 1986, a job I held for over 10 years. I would not have taken the job without his encouragement and support. After my stint, he encouraged John Crowley to edit the journal and John did it for several years. Likewise, Ben persuaded Richard Watts to serve as Business Manager for many years and later got Terry Goette to take over as Business Manager. So not only did Ben do much of the lifting himself, he is personally responsible for several other people taking on jobs for CSASI. He did the same thing for the Greater St. Louis Archaeological Society, encouraging many people to serve as officers over the years. He also encouraged people at artifact shows who had an interesting personal find to submit a story about it for the journal. Many journal pages are the result of Ben taking an interest in an artifact of someone he didn’t know and in his friendly way, getting them to submit an article or picture.

Throughout the years that John Crowley and I served as Editor Ben was on the editorial staff and for each journal we met at the home of someone on the editorial staff (often Floyd Ritter or Dale Van Blair) to review the journal before it was printed. Ben played an active role in reviewing each journal and the combined knowledge of the editorial staff resulted in journals with few errors. It was always a pleasure to have the review meetings at Ben and Marsha’s. They were great hosts and the work of the journal review was followed with seeing new additions to Ben’s collection and enjoying the treats Marsha provided. Ben’s interest was not limited to stone age artifacts, he also had a very impressive ethnographic collection.Ben held several jobs as a young man and his final job was as Quality Engineer for the Chrysler Corporation, a job he held for 30 years. He retired at age 55 and spent the rest of his life collecting and dealing in Indian artifacts. He was also active in the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Kirkwood, MO Park Board, and he served on the Board of Directors of the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society.

Ben passed away on December 17, 2017. He was born on May 1, 1923, the youngest of 7 children. His father collected artifacts and Ben started collecting at a young age. Ben married Marsha Gordon in 1946 and they had more than 65 years together until her passing. He is survived by two children, Joe and Rachel, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In 2010 Ben and Marsha moved to a retirement villa at Friendship Village and he passed away in their nursing facility.

Ben was one of the gentleman collectors, usually neatly dressed in a western jacket and string necktie at shows. He had a true love of artifacts and was fascinated by the people who made them. Those who knew him are lucky and those who didn’t meet him missed a wonderful man.

Submitted by Alan Banks