By Larry Houchen
On August 29, 1984, the body of Floyd Thompson was laid to rest in Santa Ana, California. Brother Floyd, as this writer affectionately called him, was called to his real home, having lost a bout with cancer. Elva West and Homer Hailey, long-time friends of the Thompsons, conducted the services. Ken Dart, the gospel preacher at Fairview in Garden Grove, conducted the grave side service.
Floyd and Ruth Thompson moved to California in November 1934. Brother Floyd had preached for about two years at Mt. Zion, Oklahoma, a rural congregation. For a couple of months after moving to California, brother Thompson preached for various congregations in southern California as he was needed. In January 1935, brother Floyd followed William S. Irvine at the Birch and Fairview (later Birch and McFadden) congregation in Santa Ana. He went for the purpose of “filling-in” until the congregation could secure someone to follow brother Irvine. Brother Floyd ended up “filling-in” until 1955. After serving the congregation for twenty years, brother Thompson and a number from the Birch and McFadden congregation began a new work in Garden Grove on Fairview Street. After twenty years with the Fairview congregation, brother Floyd resigned his full-time duties. (Thus, he had the unique experience of preaching to some of the same people for 40 years.) However, he remained with the congregation teaching Bible classes and serving in whatever other capacities that he could. In the last nine years, brother Floyd was often away from home engaged in gospel meetings.
Floyd Thompson’s life was greatly influenced by the writings of R.L. Whiteside and the personal twenty-five year association with C.R. Nichol. He often said that his two most favorite uninspired writers were these two brethren.
The Thompsons were unable to have children. Once, following a sermon on parental responsibilities, somebody asked brother Floyd, “How can you say the things you said having never experienced children of your own?” In his characteristically calm, bass voice, he replied, “It seems the apostle Paul had some things to say along those lines, too.”
Brother Floyd’s sermons, prayers, and general public remarks were characteristically brief. He said as much (and sometimes more) as many of us, only in fewer words. His brevity was not due to shallowness for all who knew him respected him for his obvious knowledge of “the text.” Some of this writer’s fondest memories of brother Floyd was having him expound verse by verse on certain chapters that this writer requested. He made such chapters as Matthew 24 and Romans 14 come alive. Those sessions will be dearly missed.
The apostle Paul wrote, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). Brother Floyd was anchored securely to both the faith and hope as his life was doctrinally one of stability.
Brother Thompson was a friend to young preachers. Shortly after, this then twenty-seven year old writer began work with the Tustin church, just a few miles from the Fairview congregation, he heard a knock at the office door; brother Floyd had come to welcome him to the area. Here was a highly respected gospel preacher who was not too proud to encourage a young man. His subsequent visits were frequent and always appreciated. This writer, as wen as a host of others, loved him for not only what he stood for, but also for what he was – kind and thoughtful.
The Thompsons complemented each other – theirs was a very special relationship. Whenever sister Thompson mentioned to him that something around the house needed repairing, he dropped whatever he was doing and fixed whatever was broken, if it was within his ability. In speaking with sister Ruth recently, she wanted included in this tribute that brother Floyd’s influence not only extended to outsiders and to the spiritual family, it is also reflected in the contribution of encouraging her to teach Bible classes, write, and serve the Lord in other capacities. (She has authored a fine book, Train the Young Women, and has written numerous articles. LRH)
There is a vast void in sister Ruth’s life and in the lives of the rest of us who knew Floyd Thompson. But oh, the memories, aren’t they grand!
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 1, p. 10
January 3, 1985