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Francis Eugene Thompson, 86, of La Valle, formerly of Sun Prairie, passed away peacefully Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, at his daughter Nanette’s home in Prairie du Sac.

He was born June 23, 1932, in Hazel Green, the son of Benjamin and Ida (Pratt) Thompson. On Aug. 16, 1952, he married Catherine Ann Schara at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Baraboo. He attended the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan and in later years earned his associate degree in lithography at Milwaukee Technical College. He was employed at Perry Printing Co. in Waterloo for more than 30 years until his retirement. He was a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Deaf Church in Madison. He enjoyed deer hunting, ice fishing, golfing, bowling and snowmobiling. He was particularly proud of his log home at Dutch Hollow Lake, which he designed, and where you could find him doing lawn care with precision. Francis was an avid sports spectator, strongly supporting the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and the Cuba City Cubans basketball teams.

He played basketball and football during his tenure at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and was a force to be reckoned with. In basketball, he played as an intimidating defensive center who was many times unstoppable due to his clever moves and plays despite his 6-foot stature. In the 1950-1951 season, he broke the school record by scoring 354 points. His showmanship on the court was glorified and earned him induction into the Wisconsin School for the Deaf Hall of Fame. In addition, Francis was a versatile football player, playing both offense and defense, terrorizing the opposing teams. Francis played basketball for 10 seasons from 1953-1962 with the Milwaukee Silent Club, helping the team win two championships at the AAAD in 1955 and 1956. He went on to coach basketball for both the Milwaukee and Madison Associations of the Deaf. He was well loved and respected by everyone he touched.

Francis is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth Carl of Beaver Dam, and Nanette (Jeffrey) Miller of Prairie du Sac; four grandchildren, Jennifer (Shane) Faith of Beaver Dam, Stefanie Pauls of Deerfield, and Stefano Taylor and Elisabeth Miller of Prairie du Sac; three stepgrandchildren, Lucas Miller of Merrimac, Nicholas Miller of Madison and Chelsea Miller of Milwaukee; loving companion of 11 years, Susan Nygaard; other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Catherine, in 2004; his parents; and brother, Carl Thompson.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at Redlin Funeral Home with Reverend W.M. “Bud” Palmer officiating. Burial will follow at Walnut Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, at the funeral home. Continued visitation will take place from 10 a.m. until the time of service Tuesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome in Francis’ name to Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg or the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan. The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie and Tina, Mary and Betty of Agrace for their love and support.