Students share tributes of ‘60s & ‘70s music teacher
By Seth Schmidt
Five decades after he left Tracy, the music and mentoring of Gene Thompson lives on.
Thompson 81, whose funeral was held in Eden Prairie Saturday, is being fondly remembered by former students and colleagues.
“He was a wonderful teacher who helped me to believe in my voice and instilled a strong will for myself, and many of his students, to be the best we could be,” reflected Colleen (Cain) Schiller, a 1973 Tracy Area High School graduate.
Thompson joined the THS faculty in the fall of 1966, and continued as the high school choral instructor through the 1975-76 school year.
“What great music men we had in high school,” commented Mark Donaldson, (THS ’69).
Mary Jo (Silvernale) Ploeger (TAHS ’73), said she would be “forever grateful” to have known “this kind, humble, and dedicated educator.”
“Gene Thompson was a teacher who made a difference,” she continued. “His gentle guidance proved to have a life-long affect on his students. He shared and passed on his love of music with creative rehearsals and enthusiastic performances. Through example and encouragement, Mr. Thompson was instrumental in developing self-confidence in all learners.”
See this week’s Headlight-Herald for more on this article.