Robert ‘Bob’ Thompson

Robert ‘Bob’ ThompsonRobert Hoskins “Bob” Thompson, 92 years old, passed away quietly of natural causes Oct. 20 at his home in Inyokern.

Although his parents Robert Hurd and Louise Virginia Hoskins Thompson were residents both of Los Angeles and Inyokern at the time, Bob was born April 23, 1927 in Fenton, Mich., where his mother’s father delivered him. The family returned to Inyokern shortly thereafter until returning to Fenton for the birth of a sister, Mary, who died shortly thereafter.

For various reasons, his mother stayed in Fenton with Bob until 1940 when she returned here and remarried his father. Bob’s early youth was near his Hoskins’ relations, being raised under the eyes of his mother Virginia, his Uncle John, Grandfather John Church Bennett Hoskins, MD, and various other family members. Bob loved playing with cousins and swimming and skiing. When his parents remarried, he attended high school in Los Angeles, then at what is now Murray School on the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake.

Turning 17 in 1944, he signed up with the U.S. Maritime Service (Merchant Marine) as a fireman for duty on a sea-going tug pulling barges around the South Pacific, performing this service until October 1945. In April 1946 he served the U.S. Navy as a fireman first class in Hawaii, the Philippines and Pacific Islands until honorably discharged in February 1948. With the G.I. Bill he took up flying at Inyokern Airfield and achieved his private pilot’s license. His expertise was in working on automobiles and operating heavy construction equipment.

In Los Angeles he met Fern Lee Abel and married her in the Inyokern Community Methodist Church on July 1, 1948. Their first two children, Linda Jean and Robert Lee, were born in Inyokern. Robert H. worked at various mining and construction jobs at Coso Hot Springs, Jawbone Canyon and Trona until moving in 1952 to Hollywood, to do roofing. His son Thomas Lee was born in Hollywood.

In March 1954 the family returned to Inyokern, then shortly thereafter, moved to Lodi until 1956, when he started working as a highway maintenance man with the California Division of Highways in Panamint Valley and Deep Springs, his family being based in Inyokern. In 1958 the family moved to Tehachapi, where he finished high school. In 1960 he was again promoted to leadman in Marin County. Transferring back to Tehachapi, he continued as leadman until promotion to foreman in Palm Springs in early 1964. Nine months later, Bob transferred to the Caltrans Homestead Maintenance Station, Inyokern.

In early 1968 Bob was promoted to highway superintendent, and the family moved to Los Angeles. He continued there until retirement at the end of 1980. Political commentary and flying his Cessna 3436F with his friends and fishing “wherever” became his joyful pastimes.

Retiring to Inyokern to assist his widowed mother in managing her varous Inyokern land interests, Bob quickly pressed to form the Inyokern Community Services District on which he sat as director. After he served many years as such, his mother passed away in 1994, leaving the remaining Inyokern interests to his care. He also enjoyed prospecting both around the Eastern Sierra foothills and at the Bishop Paiute Palace. Always the storyteller, he was never without a note of IWV and nearby history.

His children and grandchildren visited him often in Inyokern with his son Tom lately devoting much time caring for him over the past four years. In early 2019 he, his sons and grandsons became Sons of the American Revolution, which gave him much satisfaction.

Bob is survived by his two sons, Robert with wife Mary Jo of Clovis and Thomas with wife Julie of Inyokern, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

A celebration of life service will be held on Nov. 15, 10 a.m., at the Inyokern Methodist Church.

— Submitted by the family of Robert Thompson

See a future edition of the News Review for a feature on the Thompsons, a pineering Inyokern family. — Ed.

Story First Published: 2019-11-08