Howard J. Thompson

History Faculty
June 9, 1995 To: UNI Faculty and Staff Members From: Thomas G. Ryan, Professor Emeritus In Memoriam: Howard J. Thompson Dr. Howard J. Thompson, professor emeritus of history, died at the Cedar Falls Lutheran Home on Tuesday, May 30, 1995, following a lengthy illness. A service was held at the Kaiser-Carson funeral home in Cedar Falls on June 2. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Kenneth Merle Thompson. He is survived by his former wife, Nancy Price of Cedar Falls, their three children, Catherine Rose Thompson and David Malcom Thompson of Cedar Falls, and John Howard Thompson of Orlando, Florida, and a step grandson. Howard grew up in an academic setting, with some of his earliest memories of visiting the campus office of his father, Dr. Merle R. Thompson, professor of economics and head of the Social Science Department at Iowa State Teachers College. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa. After World War II service in the U .S. Navy, Howard resumed his education, completing the doctorate at Harvard University in 1954. He then taught one year at Cornell College, joining the ISTC faculty in 1955. For the next 31 1/2 years, he taught a variety of general education and English and European history courses, retiring at the end of 1986. His favorite courses were Humanities I and II, European Intellectual History, and Historians and Philosophers of History. The last two allowed him to pursue his interests in both history and philosophy and the intersection of the two disciplines. Howard set extremely high standards for himself and for his students. It is not surprising that the better students appreciated him and his contributions more than their less talented (or energetic) classmates. In retirement he continued to read widely and to attend numerous UNI functions, particularly lectures sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta and the Department of History. Gardening was another important retirement activity, with Howard working in the yard virtually every day the weather permitted, until his health began to fail a few years ago. He also continued in retirement his lifelong passionate interest in public affairs, particularly his opposition to military action as a policy of nation states and his desire to rid the world of nuclear arms. Less than a year ago he undertook a project to persuade a wide variety of Cedar Falls church groups to support a call for banning nuclear weapons. Few individuals worked harder at serving UNI and its students than Dr. Howard J. Thompson. Memorials in his name may be sent to the University of Northern Iowa Foundation for the Howard J. Thompson Scholarship Fund.