Feb. 2, 1931-Nov. 5, 2020
A Mass of Christian burial celebrating the life of Coach Levi Thompson were at 3 p.m., Nov. 8 at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with Fr. Blake Deshautele and Deacon John Whitehead presiding. Interment followed at the American Cemetery.
Levi was born Feb. 2, 1931, in Waterproof, La., to Gertrude and Levi Thompson Sr. He passed away Nov. 5, 2020.
Levi spent his early years in Waterproof, then left high school to study for the Priesthood. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seminary College in St. Benedict, La., and continued his studies at Epiphany College in Newburgh, NY, and St. Joseph Seminary at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Before beginning, and taking those final steps to priesthood, and after a prayerful year of counseling and discernment, Levi left the seminary.
He then served in the US Army for two years as a SP3 instructor of speed radio operation in Colorado. After his discharge, he returned to Louisiana and enrolled at NSU to get his degree in English and Physical Education. His teaching/coaching career began at Mansfield High School, where he was an assistant football coach, under his beloved brother Coach John Thompson. It was in Mansfield that he met his future wife, Vonnie. After leaving Mansfield, he went to DeRidder High School as a coach and English/Latin teacher. In 1963 he came to Natchitoches to teach and coach at Natchitoches High, and made Natchitoches his home for the rest of his life. It was during these years, he became aware of the beginning drug culture and started doing research on it. He traveled around the state of Louisiana giving talks to schools, civic clubs, parent groups and churches. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for this by the Natchitoches Jaycees in 1968. Levi was on the coaching staff when NHS won the state football championship in 1969. In 1970, he was named special assistant to the school superintendent to implement the Federal Court Order of Desegregation.
In 1972, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendant, and then in 1974, was named Superintendent. He retired from the Natchitoches Parish School Board in 1982. His love of coaching and teaching led him to St. Mary’s High School, where he was again teaching English and Latin, coaching football and became principal of the school. Levi took a break to have back surgery, and after recuperating, went to Montgomery High School where he was once again teaching and coaching. He stayed at Montgomery for the next 16 years. He had found a second home. He loved the community, the school, his students and football players. This was his last coaching job-but in his last years he taught Latin at St. Mary’s as a part time teacher.
Levi was a storyteller and an avid tennis player. He was a prayerful man, always carrying a Rosary in his pocket. Over the years he taught catechism, served as a lector, and helped serve at Latin Masses. He loved his Faith, his Family and his Friends.
Levi was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Coach John Thompson.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Vonnie Ellenburg Thompson; four children, Dr. Parker (Karen) Thompson of Pensacola, Fla., Cissy (Willy) Paz of Natchitoches, Dr. Tony (Margaret) Thompson of Greenville, NC, and Tara (John) Whitehead of Natchitoches; his nine beloved grandchildren and one great-grandson, Meagan (Bobby) Cobb, Dr. Marc Paz, Dr. David Thompson, Alexa Thompson, Taylor (Carlos) Camargo-Patron and son Gabriel, Sarah Kay Whitehead, Elizabeth (Vincent) Maggio, Gretchen Thompson, and Jack Thompson; and siblings, Mandart Thompson, Dona Mae James and Dee (Jerry) Boudreaux; and sister-in-law, Josie Thompson.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Dr. Marc Paz, Vincent Maggio, Carlos Camargo-Patron, Joe Bienvenu, Russel Bienvenu and Jason Cameron.
Honorary pallbearers will be all his former football players who held a special place in his heart.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, La., or to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
The family would like to send a special thank you to Natchitoches Community Care Center, Dr. Kathleen Kautz, Dr. Brian Picou and Hospice of Natchitoches.