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By KD REEP | Photography by LORI SPARKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

The Thompson family has deep roots in Southwest Little Rock. Born in 1942, Don Thompson lived in the same zip code for his entire life and enjoyed life in Mabelvale, graduating from Mabelvale High School and attending Little Rock University – now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It’s where he started a family with three children and established his company, Thompson Electric. Don pronounced himself the humorous title mayor of Mabelvale with an easy and welcoming smile.

“Dad graduated in 1960 from Mabelvale High School, met our mom there and decided to redo his family home where Tracy, Keith and I grew up,” recalls Terri Thompson, president of Thompson Electric. “He lived just a mile or so away from our office. Our family is very appreciative and excited to be this year’s SpectacuaLR honorees, and we have a long history with the university beginning with my dad. The university adds so much to our community with the programs it offers. Keith and I as well as our sister, Tracy, obtained our degrees from UA Little Rock; we are thankful to be able to support current Trojan student-athletes and are very proud of their athletic and academic achievements.”

Keith Thompson, co-owner of Thompson Electric played baseball for Coach Gary Hogan, who has since retired. He remembers Coach Hogan was all things to Trojan baseball: coach, fundraiser, mentor, and sometimes groundskeeper. “Dad went by Curran-Conway Park one afternoon, and Coach Hogan and some baseball players were leveling dirt and putting in sod,” Terri explains. “Coach referred to where they were practicing and playing as a ‘rock pit and dust bowl.’ Dad knew then he was a good fellow.”

Coach Hogan approached Don to help him make the park as well as the Trojan baseball program a success. The Thompson family established scholarship funds at UA Little Rock, the first of which is the Don Thompson Endowed Baseball Scholarship. For  this and many generous contributions, the family will be honored at the 15th SpectacuaLR event. “There would not be UALR baseball if it wasn’t for Don Thompson,” says Gary. “Not only did Don provide services at no charge for electrical and lighting, when I went to build the first lockerroom, he got companies to help me. When I went to put turf in, he got the company to do the groundwork. When we then needed asphalt, he went to get a company to do that. He was so giving and so kind, and it breaks my heart that he passed away.”

“We are very excited to have the Thompson family as this year’s SpectacuaLR honorees,” Director of Athletics George Lee elaborates. “They have meant so much to not only our department, but our university.” To date, SpectacuaLR has generated nearly $3.3 million since its inaugural event in 2009. These generous donations are used to help fund the 15 Trojan athletic programs, annually benefiting more than 270 student-athletes who represent Little Rock Athletics and Little Rock’s Team. Baseball Coach Chris Curry adds, “Without the Thompson family and Mr. Don, there simply would not be a UA-Little Rock baseball program. From helping Coach Hogan transform the facility to a D1 stadium, to maintaining the lights and electricity, to starting a scholarship fund, to giving towards a new scoreboard, no one has done more than the Thompsons.”

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