Robert J. Thompson, better known as "Bob," passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on February 21, 2018. He was 83 years old.
Bob was born February 1, 1935, in Salt Lake City to Claude M. and Madeline Perschon Thompson. He was the second of five children, including three brothers and one sister. Even as a child Bob had a strong work ethic-he had a paper route at the age of 10, and by the age of 14 he worked at a local grocery store and was eventually able to purchase his own vehicle. He met his lovely and beautiful wife of 64 years, Sandra Gaddie, through mutual friends while they were in high school. They were married in August 1953 in Salt Lake City.
Bob was an avid outdoorsman. He loved camping and exploring Utah's deserts and mountains with his family. He was a Utah history buff and was well versed in the geography of the state. He loved to hunt for deer in Utah's wilderness country. He was a sharpshooter and passed on his skills and eagle eye to his children and grandchildren, teaching many of them to shoot, properly handle a gun, and the importance of gun safety. He loved fishing at Strawberry Reservoir and Flaming Gorge. Nothing made him happier than being on a boat on a sunny day with a fishing rod in one hand and a can of Coors Light in the other.
Bob has always been a true craftsman. In his lifetime, he restored over a dozen boats and renovated over a dozen homes. He took great pride in his work and left no detail untouched. Those who know Bob will remember his vintage Singer sewing machine, which he masterfully used to complete custom upholstery projects for boats and furniture. Bob was a true "man's man" but he had a softer side too-he loved poodles and owned five in his lifetime (three of which were named Benji), including his most recent teacup poodle, Ted E. Bear, who loved to curl up on Bob's lap in the last years of his life.
Bob's father owned Carpets Inc. in Sugar House, which many will remember from the large mechanical flying carpet sign. Bob learned to lay carpet and followed in his father's footsteps as a salesman for the family business. He later started his own carpet cleaning business named Carpet Steam Machine-he even built the carpet cleaning machines by hand-where he worked until his retirement, along with remodeling and flipping homes.
Of all of his achievements, Bob was most proud of his family. His favorite roles were that of father and grandfather. He loved hosting family parties-his signature dish was barbecue chicken for Sunday dinners, and every Christmas the family gathered around his dining table to play Bingo. Many summer vacations were spent sharing his love of camping, hunting, and boating with his family. Ultimately, Bob's love for his family will be his greatest and most impactful legacy.
Bob is preceded in death by his brothers, Bill and Scott. He is survived by his wife, Sandra, and their children Mike Thompson, Terri Neihart-Jonkman (John), and Tracie Braun-Sturm (Craig), as well as his brother, Brent, and his sister, Claudia Bunker, along with many nephews. He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren Nate Neihart (Jen), Jessica Triptow (Toby), Chris Neihart (Tessa), Nick Neihart (Pearl), Alyssa Braun, Haley Neihart, Ryan Braun, and his great-grandchildren Londyn, Kaitlyn, Lukas, and Annabelle.
Friends and family are welcome to celebrate Bob's life on Thursday, March 1, from 6-8 p.m. at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, SLC. A private burial service will be held on Friday, March 2, at Larkin Sunset Cemetery in Sandy. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake (rescuesaltlake.org).