Cover photo for Deborah K. Thompson's Obituary
Deborah K. Thompson Profile Photo
1947 Deborah 2019

Deborah K. Thompson

December 24, 1947 — March 1, 2019

Our friend and colleague Deb Thompson passed away on March 1, 2019. Family and friends are saddened by her passing, but we celebrate her life and the generous manner in which she taught us not only through her life’s work in academics but also through her fun-loving and life-embracing spirit.


Dr. Deborah K. Thompson, daughter of Robert and Olive Thompson, earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Kent State University in 1970, her Masters of Arts in Physical Education from The Ohio State University in 1972, and her Doctorate in Education from University of Arkansas in 1982. Dr. Thompson came to Bethel College as a National Teaching Fellow and Instructor in 1982. She was promoted to Assistant Professor of Education in 1983, Associate Professor of Education in 1988, and Professor of Education in 1994. She was the recipient of The Roy and Mary Shelton Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award for the 1997-1998 school year. Dr. Thompson served Bethel University in many ways, including Chair for the Division of Health and Physical Education, Faculty Moderator, and Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees. Her leadership in and out of the classroom was respected, and her dedication to improving academic and athletic programs at Bethel was evident in her decades of service. In March 2016, Bethel University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to award Dr. Thompson the status of Faculty Emeritus, highlighting her dedication to Bethel University and to the students.


Students knew Dr. Thompson as “Dr. T”. Friends and colleagues knew her as Deb. The community might remember her for her Christmas carols or her love of animals. Friends will cherish memories of her playing golf, playing dominoes, trips to Tunica, cheering on her favorite teams, laughing at ourselves, and enjoying life’s simplest pleasures.


To say our friend will be greatly missed is obvious, but Deb also left us with lessons and examples of how to be honest, how to work hard, how to have fun, and how to respect each other. Rest in peace and thank you for being you, Deb Thompson.


A memorial service for Dr. "T" will be Tuesday March 12, 2019 at the Bethel Baker Fieldhouse at 5:30 pm.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Deborah K. Thompson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bethel University Baker Fieldhouse

, McKenzie, TN 38201

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