Thompson, Barry

Barry B. Thompson

Dr. Barry B. Thompson, 77, of West, Texas, passed away Saturday, March 1, 2014, at his ranch home. A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 9, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the Clyde Wells Fine Arts Center on the Tarleton State University campus. A reception will follow at the Barry B. Thompson Student Center. Services under the direction of Stephenville Funeral Home.

Barry was born on May 12, 1936, in Pecos, Texas, and raised in Kermit, Texas, Barry was the first of two sons born to Tommy and Louise Thompson. He married his high school sweetheart, Sandra Sue Davison, in 1955. A lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, Barry devoted his life to public service.

After receiving degrees from both Tarleton State University and Texas Tech University, he began his distinguished 44 years in Texas public education as a middle school science teacher in Andrews, Texas. At the age of 25, he became a high school principal for Dalhart ISD, and subsequently went on to become superintendent of Post ISD and assistant superintendent for Waco ISD.

While completing his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, he transitioned to higher education, serving as a professor at University of Texas-Edinburg (1971-1975), department head, Provost, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Texas A&M University- Commerce from (1975-1982), President of Tarleton State University (1982-1991), and President of West Texas A&M University (1991-1994). He completed his career in education as the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System from 1994 until his retirement in 1999. He was named both President Emeritus of Tarleton State University and Chancellor Emeritus of Texas A&M University. He held multiple leadership positions and was the recipient of numerous recognitions throughout his career, including serving two terms as the President of the Council of Texas Public University Presidents and Chancellors, and receiving such awards as the Texas Science Teacher of the Year in 1960, the 1996 Golden Deeds in Education Award, the 1999 Mirabeau Lamar Medal for outstanding leadership in higher education, and the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award. He is a distinguished alumnus of both Tarleton State University and Texas A&M University-Commerce. The Barry B. Thompson Student Center on the Tarleton State University campus was dedicated in his honor in 1996.

After his retirement, Barry continued to teach doctoral classes for Texas A&M University-Commerce and Tarleton State University. He also focused his interests in the horse racing industry. Family vacations were a great source of enjoyment.

Barry is preceded in death by his parents, Tommy and Louise Thompson.

He is survived by his wife, Sandra; daughter, Karol Wallace of Gholson; daughter, and son-in-law, Kim and Robert Fimbel of Stephenville; son, Scott Thompson of Ft. Worth; son, and daughter-in-law, Bart and Marie Thompson of Tyler; grandchildren, Kate and husband, Drew York of Fairview; Sarah and husband, Tim Meyers of Austin; Andrew and wife, Chelsea Fimbel of Stephenville; Jill Wallace of Austin; Rachel, Julia, and Kittie Thompson of Tyler; great-grandchildren, Emily and Reid York of Fairview; Ella Meyers of Austin; and Riley Fimbel of Stephenville; brother, Dan Thompson of Dallas; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

The Thompson family wishes expressions of sympathy be made by contribution to the Dr. Barry B. and Sandra Thompson scholarship fund established at Tarleton State University.

Online condolences may be made at

Stephenville Funeral Home

120 West South Loop

Stephenville, Texas


May 12, 1936 - March 1, 2014

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