The Hon. James McLean Thompson, former Custos of Westmoreland and father of the Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, The Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson, died yesterday (June 22) in the Sav-la-mar Hospital after sustaining a heart attack. He was 99 years old.
Mr. Thompson, who was affectionately called “Jim T,” gave some 54 years’ of outstanding public service to the Parish of Westmoreland and the nation, dating back to 1947, when he entered representational politics under the banner of the People’s National Party, and was elected Councillor for the Glenislay Division. He served in that capacity for 14 years. He became a Justice of the Peace in 1957.
Jim Thompson deepened his involvement in national life as a member of the House of Representatives and Member of Parliament for North East Westmoreland from 1972-1980, during which time he was also Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. He subsequently took up duties as Custos of Westmoreland on February 22, 1990 and served for 11 years until his retirement in June 2001.
Jim Thompson’s long and distinguished contribution to national life was recognised by the Government of Jamaica when he was awarded the Commander of the Order of Distinction in 1998. On his retirement from public life in 2001, he was lauded as “a stalwart who has worked tirelessly for the growth and development” of his country and especially for the parish of Westmoreland.
In his private life, Mr. Thompson was a cane farmer and a prominent member of the Jamaica All Island Cane Farmers’ Association, as well as the Jamaica Agricultural Society. He was also a lay preacher at the St. James Anglican Church in Grange; and he is credited as one of the main persons who guided the resuscitation of the Scouts movement.
The late Custos is survived by his eight children, Barbara, Grace, Angella, Robert, Hope, James (Junior), Norman and John, as well as several grandchildren.