November 19, 1949 – January 4, 2023
In loving memory ~
Doug Thompson died peacefully of natural causes in Kamloops, B.C., with his niece Stacey and her husband Travis by his side. He was born in Langley B.C., the eldest son of Lyle and Arieda Thompson. The family moved to Quesnel in the 1950s, where Doug grew up attending school and learning his first carpentry skills from his father.
As a young man his carpentry and woodworking talent was apparent, and he occasionally made extra money completing some of his schoolmate’s shop projects for them. He earned his Journeyman certification after moving to Vancouver in the late 1960s. In the early 1970’s he met and started working with Attila Balogh, the renowned creator of Odyssey Guitars. This began Doug’s journey to becoming a well-respected luthier, and a masterful guitar repairman with skills second to none. He moved to the Kootenays in 1980 with his then-wife Holly Ridenour and set up shop on Kootenay St. in Nelson. A few years later they moved to Beasley, and Doug began a five-year project digging a basement under two side-by-side cabins on the property. That basement became his new shop. The Thompson Guitars sign stood on the side of Highway 3A for over twenty years. His reputation brought business, to everyone from famous musicians to total beginners. In Doug’s fifty-year career he worked on thousands of guitars; repairing, restoring, and tweaking them to perfection. All who entered his well-organized shop received the same treatment and respect. He didn’t like pretension or large egos, and he cut no corners upholding his standards of quality and integrity.
Doug was a modest and hardworking man who didn’t like the limelight, even though his talents deserved it. He had an interest in people’s lives and motivations and was an avid reader of psychology and musical biographies. He had a library of almost two thousand books. Rockwork was also an outlet for his creativity, and for a while, he would trade customers a set of strings for a good rock.
Later in life, he became even more particular and would go rock-hounding after business hours looking for the right shapes and colours. He was exceptional at whatever he turned his hand to, however, wood was his first love. Wood just seemed to conform to his will, and he made the most precise and challenging tasks look easy. Doug never had children, though he formed a close bond with Kenneth Wawryk, the son of a relationship he had in his mid-twenties. That bond remained strong and important to both of them for the rest of Doug’s life.
In 2007 he again changed locations and opened a smaller shop on 6th St. in Nelson. Doug closed up the business in 2021, unfortunately leaving stringed instrument players in B.C. without his expert work and advice. Doug’s generosity and self-deprecating humour earned him lifelong friends and devoted customers. He was as true a friend as one could ever hope to find.
Doug is predeceased by his parents Lyle and Arieda Thompson, brother Ken Thompson, and sister Donna Michaud. He will be greatly missed by his treasured niece Stacey Anderson (Travis) of Kamloops, and his many close friends in BC who loved him dearly.
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