Joseph H. Thompson

Joseph H. Thompson

December 11, 1939 ~ February 08, 2021

Date of Service:
February 12, 2021


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.

Joseph Hill Thompson was born on Dec 11th, 1939 in Passaic, New Jersey to parents Dorothy and Robert Thompson and resided in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  He would join one other Thompson son, Bobby, his older brother.

Joe was an avid three sport athlete at Ridgewood High School, playing football, baseball, and basketball.  The summer prior to starting high school, Joe met Lois Voorhees at the Graydon Pool and they began dating that fall while they were both freshmen.  Lois and Joe graduated from Ridgewood High School, then Joe continued his education at Rutgers while also playing baseball for the University.  After graduating from Rutgers, Joe acquired his Master’s Degree from Kean College.  Even though Joe and Lois continued their education at different schools, their love for each other continued to grow while spending time together on weekends in Hacketstown, NJ.  After completing their graduate studies, Joe and Lois were married on June 2nd, 1962 in Wayne, PA.  Shortly after, they relocated to Hillsborough, NJ where they raised their three children, Susan, Joe Jr and Scott.

Joe’s love for teaching and coaching lead him to his first job in the Hillsborough School District.  He taught Physical Education and coached baseball as well.  He then joined the administrative team and was hired as Vice Principal of Hillsborough Middle School.  His experience, excellent leadership and people skills led to another promotion as principal of Woodfern Elementary School, where he remained until retirement.  Because Joe was such an advocate for children, he was known as “The Kids Principal” as he positively influenced thousands of youngsters and managed hundreds of happy teachers and staff.

After being employed in the education field for 34 years, Joe and Lois retired and moved to Vero Beach, Florida and Keystone, Colorado.  They enjoyed many years of golf, skiing, hiking and spending much time with their eight grandchildren.  All the grandchildren called Joe “Poppie” or the “Popster” and they loved both he and Lois (Grandy) dearly.

Joe is the true definition of a “people person”.  He was a gregarious person who genuinely enjoyed interacting with others and had an incredible ability to connect, laugh and make people feel accepted, appreciated, and loved.  He genuinely cared about everyone.  Joe was an amazing husband, father, brother, and friend.  We will all miss “Poppie” so much, but God works all things together for good for those who have faith in Him.  All who call on the name of The Lord will be saved.  God’s plan is good and so we know we will see “Poppie” again.

A Memorial Service will be held 10:30 a.m., Friday, February 12, 2021 at First Presbyterian Church, 520 Royal Palm Blvd, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

In remembrance of Joseph H. Thompson memorial contributions may be made in his name to Plowshare Farm, 32 Whitney Road, Greenfield, NH 03047.  

***For those unable to attend, at 10:30 a.m. please join the service live by clicking this link  – ***

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

Date of Service:
February 12, 2021


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


Jane Porter Caliguari

February 10, 2021, 9:26 pm

Mr. Thompson was a special man! He wasn’t just a principal to those who were lucky enough to have him, but a friend. He really cared for his students and their families. He will be missed. Jane Porter Caliguari (Woodfern Roadrunner 1977-1981)

Jen Van De Hei - Former student

February 10, 2021, 10:26 pm

I’m so very sorry for your loss. I was one of Mr Thompson’s Woodfern kids and remember him fondly. He was always smiling! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Jen Everett Van De Hei (woodfern 1976-1981)


February 11, 2021, 1:13 am

Dear Thompson family, Please accept our condolences; we are so sorry when we heard the news re Lois and now Joe. We knew Joe personally and professionally and we had a great relationship – a true friend and someone we enjoyed working with. Many times, after we both retired from Hillsborough Schools,Joe and I would talk about our experiences together-our three times a week playing racquet ball (and I would lose three times a week), and many other things that put us together. We will keep him in our thoughts and remember him dearly.

Michael Barkman - Friend of family

February 11, 2021, 4:12 am

To the Thompson Family, My deepest condolences to Susan, Joe, and Scott and of course all the grandchildren. Your father always made me laugh and took the time to say hello and how are you? My mother worked for him at Woodfern and she said that he always stuck up for kids being bullied. He was a great man. I will pray for your family to find peace during this very difficult time. Sincerely, Michael “Bubba” Barkman

Katherine Stotler - Former Student

February 11, 2021, 2:59 pm

My sincere condolences. Mr. Thompson was my principal for 1 year, when I was in 2nd grade at Woodfern School. 33 years later and I still remember him vividly. He was an incredible man who will continue to have a positive effect on education for years to come.

Jason Schmeling - Former Woodfern student

February 11, 2021, 3:26 pm

Mr Thompson was a wonderful and caring principal. He was my principal at Woodfern Elementary from K thru 4th 79 to 83. Although I may have spent more time in his office then he wanted me too. Lol He always spoke to you not at you. He never raised his. He always explained what and why …most of all I truly believe he put himself in our shoes and remembered that we were just young kids learning. He always had a smile. Such a great man and a positive influence in my life at a very young age. God Bless Mr Thompson. Rest in Peace sir. Thank you for everything. Thoughts prayers and condolences from my family to the Thompson family.

George Gonzalez - A good friend

February 11, 2021, 3:40 pm

George Gonzalez asked me to express his condolences to the family and friends of Joe Thompson. George and Joe worked together for many years. George is most sorry for the loss of a great guy and family man. His children and grandchildren must be very proud of him. George states that he was very fortunate to know Joe and expresses his sorrow.

Stefanie Fedora - Former student

February 11, 2021, 4:04 pm

Mr Thompson was the best. He never forgot a name or a face even many years after he was our principal. He was fun, kind,caring and always had a smile on his face. May he Rest In Peace. He will be missed by many! Woodfern alumni 1980-1985

Robin Bloch - Woodfern Parent and Friend

February 11, 2021, 5:26 pm

Prayers going to Joe and Lois’s family- Joe was one in a million-what a tremendous lose for so many. Will miss his phone calls checking up on me and my 2 Woodfern Alums. Joe was always there for us through the rough and happy times-I know he is looking down on us all-Love you Joe!

Tara Moran jakubowski - Student

February 11, 2021, 5:47 pm

I never came across a person who didn’t rave about Mr. Thompson. He was an exceptional principal , leader, and educator. He brought so much love to Woodfern school when I attended in the 80s. He was one of a kind and I haven’t stopped thinking of him since I heard the news of his passing. To his family – sending many blessings and thank you for sharing him with us at woodfern school.

Darlene Daniels - Pike Brook CC kid

February 11, 2021, 8:27 pm

Mr. Thompson was such a sweet, wonderful man. I used to spend my summers in the pool at Pike Brook CC and have very fond memories of both Lois and Joe. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

Michael and Silvia Schottinger - Friend

February 11, 2021, 8:28 pm

The Schottingers – Friends of the Family February 11th, 2021. ……..
Mr. Thompson was an example of a wonderful human being. He was a gentleman, a loving and caring person. He will be missed. Our sincere condolences to the Thompson family.

Fiorella Bologno - Colleague

February 11, 2021, 9:40 pm

Although I never personally met Mr. Thompson, we heard so much about him at Ridge High School. Scott talked about his father with incredible admiration, respect and deep love. Mr. Thompson inspired Scott and I am sure everyone around him to be passionate about education, to care for all students and to lead from the heart.
Our sincere condolences for your loss.

Christopher DeCicco - friend of the family

February 11, 2021, 10:26 pm

I had the pleasure of knowing Joe as a neighbor and an educator. Salt of the earth. He always made me feel welcome, his sense of humor was electric. He and Lois are blessed forever, Jesus is Faithful and True. Sue, Joey and Scott, the DeCicco’s feel your loss.

Emily Cherry - Former student

February 12, 2021, 12:06 am

Mr Thompson was one of the best people that I ever met. He truly cared about his students and he was an amazing principal. There are people in your life who you meet and they leave an indelible mark on you, even if you have not seen them in more years than you care to count. Mr Thompson was one of those people. Speaking to former teachers and peers, I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone who didn’t have a positive thing to say about Mr. Thompson. The world has lost a good one.

Karyn Widland

February 12, 2021, 2:16 am

I grew up across the street from the Thompson’s. What a wonderful family! The kids were our babysitters and Mr & Mrs Thompson were always so kind to our family. I remember them coming to my mom and dad’s funerals and supporting our family in that difficult time. Condolences on the loss of a wonderful man

TC Getsy - Friend to Joe Jr.

February 12, 2021, 11:11 am

Joe, Scott, and Sue: My deepest sympathies. I loved your dad and still, to this day, talk of him with my kids. He had a tremendous impact on my life. He always made me feel welcome whenever I would visit, reason being I always felt he related to me on my level. I try to model that behavior with my own kids and their friends. You dad was great man. We will never know the full impact he had on the lives of so many, but please know he lives on in me. He was truly a “good and faithful servant” and one who blessed so many kids. I’m confident the angels welcomed him into glory with much singing and rejoicing. May our good and merciful God grant you comfort and solace during your time of grieving. Peace be with you.

Megan (McManus) Christie - Student

February 12, 2021, 1:30 pm

Mr. Thompson was a remarkable principal, just one of a kind. I was blessed to have him as my principal at Woodfern School in the 80s. I distinctly remember him walking down the hallways, always smiling, greeting each and every student by name. I was an extremely shy student and he made me feel very comfortable in school. He had a gift of making everyone feel special. Fifteen years after I graduated from Woodfern, my family and I ran into him at a Hillsborough restaurant. At this point, I was a teacher in Hillsborough, my career choice made in elementary school due to my wonderful experience at Woodfern School. Mr. Thompson greeted us with a smile, and remembered all of our names (My two siblings also had him as a principal.) I was extremely saddened to hear of his passing and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult time. May they take solace in the fact that he touched so many lives and will be remembered fondly by so many. Megan (McManus) Christie

Carol Himes - Sister- in- law

February 12, 2021, 3:08 pm

Susie, Joe and Scott — I loved your dad from the moment my sister laid eyes on him. I have so many memories – Jersey Shore, Vero Beach, Alaska, Colorado – each one so special. He always made amyone he was with feel happy and loved. Joe is with Loie once again, this time forever – and I can talk with both of them at the same time, always with tears, humor and love. Love you all, and as always, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Joan Miller - Friend

February 12, 2021, 3:08 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with all the Thompson family. I’m so sorry to hear of Joe’s recent passing and of Lois in June. My memories are fond and happy. They are of fun times. They were wonderful people and I miss them even now, many years later.May all your memories be happy. Blessings to you all.

Thomas Thorp - Family friend

February 12, 2021, 3:27 pm

I was fortunate enough to get to know all of the Thompson’s when I became friends with Scott 13 years ago. When I first met Mr. Thompson at a family Christmas party, I was immediately drawn into his kind nature and great sense of humor. Later that evening he made a call to my house when my young children still believed in Santa, and played the role of Santa on the phone with my four girls. Of course he had them all convinced that he was Santa, maybe he was. I have come to know and love the whole Thompson clan and know that this great man is the reason that all three of his children are such great people. I wish you all peace and comfort during this time of loss.

Gary Summers - Friends

February 12, 2021, 8:46 pm

Joe and Lois were close friends of ours. He will be sorely missed. Joe and I skied and did Scuba together. Even diving in the Red Sea on one of our trips. Lois and Joe traveled with us to Israel as well as following Paul’s footsteps to Greece and Turkey. We have many great memories. It is wonderful to know that Joe and Lois are reunited. Someday we will all be together again at the feet of our Lord…

George and Joanne Yantz - Friends

February 20, 2021, 1:45 am

Joe, Susie and Scott- We were so sad to hear about the passing of your dad. Your mom and dad were our best friends. They were the ones who told us about Colorado. We have so many memories of hiking, biking, skiing, and eating together. Your father always enjoyed food and I love to cook so, therefore, we spent many evenings at our home with the four of us eating and of course your dad taking food home with him. Our lives were so enriched by having their friendship. This is a difficult time for all of us. We do believe that we will all be together again. Our prayers are with your family.

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