I have been asked to put something together about the life of a person I was lucky to have known, Ross Thompson. I did not know him as well as many others did, so I have included comments from some of the people who knew him best. I could have added comments from many more people. I hope this accurately reflects the off-road motorcycling part of his life, how generous he could be, and dedicated he was to the sport.
Long-time Straight Arrow Enduro Riders member, Ross Thompson, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on July 19, 2009. He was where he was probably most comfortable, hanging out in the pits of a motocross race. He was 39 years old.
Ross had been a District 23 board member for the last several years as the 125 (now 250) Class Rep. If you won a year-end motocross award the last few years, thereís a good chance that he handed it to you. He was always pretty low-key, never doing anything to call attention to himself, but quietly doing his part, whether it was helping out at the banquet, signing in riders at Grantsburg, or much more, as I would find out from those who knew him better than I did.
For the last several years, he was always on Kawasakis, in quite a few different flavors, usually with his familiar #66. His primary class was 30+A, although he would also compete in 25+ A, and sometimes 125A (now 250A). Holding onto a 125 through the years proved to be a good idea, as 2009 saw the introduction of the 125-only class as a points-paying class. He was competing quite regularly this year, riding mostly that class. He had climbed to a close second in the points at the time of his untimely passing.
In the late 90s, he was the Straight Arrows Moto-Chair. This was when the Arrows also ran the old Elko track. It was during this time period when he crashed in the long sweeper at Grantsburg, breaking both wrists. Thatís why itís named (maybe only by me) the Rossí Wrists Sweeper. He also competed in the Minnesota (Motokazie) Supercross Series quite a bit through the years, being the man to beat in the Vet class for a while.
Iíll always remember his easy smile and willingness to help out however needed. He was a good club member and a better person. He will be dearly missed.
- Bob Chase
I met Ross when I was 10 years old. Some 17 years ago he was dating a family friends daughter. So we went and watched him race at Millville in 1992. I thought it was the coolest thing and I told my dad "I want to do that someday". Anyhow it escalated from that day. I started racing.
Ross was always there to help me and my dad (Mitch) at the races. Showing us the "ropes" so to say. As time passed I was fortunate enough to have Ross as one of my mechanics at the nationals. He never missed any of them. He was always right there with me and my dad. In 2006 he bought me a KX450 to race at the nationals, just because he wanted to see me out there.
Thatís what I am getting at I guess. Ross was the most genuine, kindhearted person that you have ever met. He was never out to judge you or put you down in any way. If Ross could help someone out, even if it meant putting a damper on his plans, he was right there. He would do anything to put a smile on your face, even when you are in the worst mood ever, somehow he was the guy that could get a chuckle out of ya. Never asking for anything in return. Just always looking out for everybody.
I was blessed to have Ross as one of my closest friends... Anybody who had Ross in their life was lucky...
A mentor and a best friend to many....................
....ROSS THOMPSON you're never to be forgotten....................I love you........
- Mike Evenson
Above 3 photos courtesy of MNRacing.com. Reformatted for the web.
My first images of Ross go back to 1992 when I would chase him in the 125C class on our nearly identical and very stock to todays standards,92 KX 125's. Both of us battled a lot that year and both of us moved into the B class. Through the 90's and into the early millennium Ross and I seemed to be real close on the track trading positions whether it was a Motokazie SX, the Millville sand wash or Kellogg hardpack, and we often joked about that. He always rode clean and considered me a friendly competitor as I did him. Mike from the note above was even a mutual friend and someone we both sponsored and helped out. Ross was one of the most likeable guys you ever wouldíve met, and never had a negative word about anyone. Ironically I feel it was destiny too how I pulled into Kellogg that morning and parked next to him and was there the day that he passed from this world. Iím sure someday we'll meet again.............
- George Hodkinson
The family of Ross Thompson wishes to thank everyone at Midway for all their assistance, whether it was with medical involvement or those that helped load Ross' van or making contacts trying to locate family members. Special thanks to Lee Thies and his crew and to George Hodkinson.
The official autopsy report will not be available for several weeks, but preliminary results were coronary heart disease.
He will truly be missed by many and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his motocross family.
Our personal relationship began 17 years ago (through mutual friends) when we went to watch him race at Millville. Our son enjoyed it so much he talked us into letting him race. Ross was always there to support him in any way he was needed, whether it was at the local races and as he progressed to the national level.
We spent the day together Saturday at the Pro-Nationals and Ross even spoke of taking his 3 nephews riding on Monday. He truly loved the sport of riding and was always offering encouragement and help to others.
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts & prayers.
- Mitch & Vicki Evenson
Photo courtesy of WholeShotMX.com. Reformatted for the web.
Text of the obituary
Ross Roger Thompson was born on August 20, 1969 in Edina, MN the son of Gene and Andrea (Kabe) Thompson. He was baptized at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. Ross was a 1988 graduate of Albert Lea High School and attended the U of M Waseca, then went into the electrical program at Dunwoody Technical Institute. On July 30th 1994, Ross was united in marriage to Marcy Carlsen at the Couples Resort in Jamaica. After 5 years of marriage, they divorced. Ross has been a Mall of America employee since it opened. He first worked in the Maintenance Department and currently as an electrician. He was a member of the Straight Arrow Motocross Club of Minneapolis, was an ARMCA district 23 points keeper for the 250cc class, and a member of the American Motocross Association (AMA). Ross had a zest for life like no other. He took each day as a new adventure and lived life to the fullest. He was well known in our family for several antics and practical jokes. Ross' passions were motocross, hunting, collecting toy tractors and motocross collectibles, but above all else he enjoyed spending time with and spoiling his nieces and nephews.
Survivors include his parents, Gene and Andrea of Freeborn; brother, Mike (Karla) Thompson of Albert Lea and their children, Megan and Brooke; sister, Anissa (Kirk) Johnson of Clarks Grove and their children, Dylan and Mason; grandmothers, Elvera Kabe of Albert Lea and Marian Thompson of Clarks Grove; aunts and uncles, Duane Thompson, Roger Thompson, Charlotte (Ben) Barrentine, Nathan Thompson, Leslie (Gretchen) Thompson, Linda (Kevin) Kelly, Marvin Thompson, Everett (Karina) Thompson, Galen (Bonnie) Kabe, Joel (Susan) Kabe and Kristen (Richard) Geiger; many cousins and special friends, Mitch and Vicki Evenson and their children, Mike and Amanda; and his many friends at the Mall of America.
Ross was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Robert S. Thompson and Harold V. Kabe. Ross will always be remembered for his kind nature and caring ways. He will be forever missed by his family, friends, and all that knew and loved him. Blessed be his memory always.