Thursday, September 1, 2005

Max Thompson, RIP

Longtime Aycock resident and neighborhood advocate Max Thompson has died.

Max was one of the founders of the Aycock neighborhood association and was a tireless advocate for the neighborhood he loved. Fisher Park architect Carl Myatt has called him a "bulldog" for the causes that he believed in, and he is a local hero to many Aycock residents.

Max is the person most responsible for the presence of the Hendrix Street footbridge which connects the Aycock and Fisher Park neighborhoods. He pushed, cajoled, and argued with city staff, elected officials, and railroad executives for years to see that the new bridge was built after the old one was condemned and demolished. He was constantly told that it couldn't and wouldn't be done.

But it was done.

Max did it. He also saw to it that the area around the bridge was properly landscaped. Here's how the entrance the bridge looks now on the Fisher Park side:

Max knew instinctively that keeping our neighborhoods connected was essential to the neighborhoods' vitality. The bridge is used constantly by residents from both sides of the bridge, and has been instrumental in recent improvements to nearby Chestnut St.

Max will be sorely missed, but must not be fogotten. Carl Myatt has suggested the Hendrix Street bridge be named after Max, and I think that's a great idea. I only wish we'd done it while Max could have appreciated it, too.

Update: Here is Max's obituary from the News & Record:

Mr. J. Maxton "Max" Thompson Jr., 62, of Greensboro, died at his home in Greensboro on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Born in Guilford Co. to Joseph Maxton Thompson Sr., and Frances Sellars Thompson, Max graduated from UNCG with a degree in Political Science. For years he was owner and operator of Millpoint Nursery. He was an avid fisherman, loved baseball and for years coached little league baseball. He was a large supporter of restoring War Memorial Stadium. Max used to sing in a Barber Shop Quartet and was a member of the local Barber Shop Quartet chapter. He was past president of the Aycock Neighborhood Assoc. and past chairman of the Zoning Commission. Max was also very instrumental in the replacement of the Hendrix St. Bridge.

He was preceded in death by father who died Feb. 16, 2005, and his brother Tyler Thompson.

Those left to cherish his memory include his son, Sam Thompson of Carrboro; his mother, Frances S. Thompson of Greensboro; sisters, Page Thompson of Greensboro and Toni Thompson Dingley and her husband, Emmett of Virginia; aunts, Ann Thompson of Greensboro and Willis T. Durham of Burlington.

The family will receive friends at the church following the memorial service.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Aycock Neighborhood Assoc. c/o Chuck Newell 704 Cypress St., Greensboro, NC 27405.

Hanes-Lineberry Vanstory Chapel is assisting the family.


Anonymous said...

I served on the Zoning Commission with Max. I learned so much from him about Historic Districts as well as zoning in general.

Your community will have an empty spot without him, as indeed the entire Greensboro community will.


Anonymous said...

That bridge is a wonderful thing. We use it often, and I know many more people would be running across the RR crossing at Leftwich if it weren't for the pedestrian overpass.

It is always good to here from people that have played important roles in the neighborhoods.


Sam Thompson said...

Thank you for posting this about my father. Although I live in Carrboro now, I try to visit the bridge whenever I can. I remember him drawing up plans to landscape the area and how proud he was when the project was completed.