Elgin Harrold Thompson
October 20, 1922 - February 16, 2020
Funeral services for Elgin Harrold Thompson, 97, of Lower Brule, SD, will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, at St. Albans Episcopal Church of Fort Hale, SD.
Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at Hickey Funeral Chapel of Chamberlain, SD, with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m.
Burial will be at St. Albans Cemetery of Fort Hale, SD.
Elgin Harrold Thompson died Sunday morning, Feb. 16, 2020, at Avantara Nursing Home in Pierre, SD.
A member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Sergeant Elgin Harrold Thompson was born Oct. 20, 1922, at Fort Lookout/Fort Hale Bottom in South Dakota to Harry W. Thompson and Mary “Mamie” DeSmet Thompson.
He enlisted in the United States Army on Feb. 3, 1942, at Fort Snelling in Minnesota, at the young age of 19. He attended basic training the same year at Camp Wolters near Mineral Wells, Texas.
At home, Elgin was a hunter and trapper, a country boy through and through. He was a great marksman (and he’d add an excellent fighter) and he rose fast through the ranks because of these skills. He quickly attained
the rank of sergeant and served as a squad leader with the 19th Infantry Division, participating in campaigns in New Guinea, Southern Philippines and the Battle of Luzon. He received citations for extraordinary courage in battle time. He was wounded on Feb. 15, 1945, in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. His awards include a Good Conduct Medal, Presidential unit citation, Asiatic-Pacific campaign medal with Three Bronze Service Stars and One Bronze Arrowhead, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with Two Bronze Service Stars, World War II Victory medal, Combat Infantryman badge, Honorable Service Lapel Button (World War II), Republic of the Philippines Presidential unit citation (Foreign Award) and a Purple Heart.
He traveled to many places throughout his service including Hawaii – Pearl Harbor, Australia, New Guinea, Philippine Islands – Leyte, Luzon, Mindoro and Mindanao. He liked to share that each of these countries had
their own currency and when he was serving in them, he would be paid in their currency, such as pounds, guilders, pesos and marked American money in Hawaii.
Once receiving an honorable discharge from the United States Army on Aug. 29, 1945, Elgin returned home and earned a living through ranching/farming and other various jobs in construction, railroad, brick tending, masonry and even rode in a few rodeos.
Elgin was one of the oldest World War II veterans left living and was the oldest veteran of Kul Wicasa Oyate, recently celebrating his 98th birthday.
He will be missed for his good humor, his willingness to share stories, as well as sharing his fondest memories of growing up in Fort Hale Bottom.
Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were blessed with a very large family that included eight sons and four daughters. Four of the eight sons served in the armed forces overseas during World War II. A local newspaper at the time
recognized Elgin, Leroy, Harry and Victor, not just for their heroics but also commended them for their voluntary service and not needing to be called to service. They all passed perfect examinations and were immediately taken into service. All four brothers returned home.
Elgin was the first of his brothers to enlist with the other three following his lead not too long afterwards.
Grateful for having shared his life are his numerous and beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, his “adopted” granddaughter, Camie Quilt and many extended family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Mamie Thompson; his brothers, Harry Thompson, Wilbert Thompson, Leroy Thompson, Clarence Thompson, Vernie Thompson, Melvin Thompson and Victor
Thompson and his sisters, Gladys, Evelyn, Feanette and Mary.
Hickey Funeral Chapel of Chamberlain, SD, will be in charge of arrangements.
The obituary may be seen at www.hickeyfuneralchapel.com.