In Memoriam Allan M. Thompson

Wind River Canyon

Our friend and colleague Dr. Allan Thompson, "Doc", passed away on August 27, 2012.   This webpage honors his memory and provides information about his life as well as a link to a Facebook site, UD Geo Tribute to Allan Thompson, where you can post memories, comments, and photos for friends and family to see.   

Allan McMaster Thompson
Allan and Kelvin


In Memoriam: Allan M. Thompson, associate professor emeritus

Allan McMaster Thompson, associate professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, died at age 72 on Aug. 27 in Wilmington, DE.  Born in Ithaca, NY on May 22, 1940 to parents Craig Ringwalt Thompson and Isabella McMaster Thompson, he spent most of his childhood in Appleton, Wis. 

He graduated with a B.S. from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. and obtained his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He joined UD’s Department of Geological Sciences in 1967.  

In 1986, Dr. Thompson was honored with the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognized his unrelenting dedication to the quality education and experience of his students. His long career in earth science took him to many parts of the United States and abroad.

Doc on Van

Known to his students as "Doc", he is remembered for the many field trips he led to share his deep commitment to Geoscience.  For nearly 15 years he taught the Department's summer Field Geology course, an intensive eight-week study and travel experience throughout the western U.S., the cornerstone of the undergraduate curriculum and experience.  He furthered his passion for geology and education by working with high school science teachers and by acting as the Coordinator of the Secondary Science Education program at UD from 1986-1993.  In 2005, after 38 years, Thompson retired and was granted emeritus status at the University of Delaware.

Professional Geologist and Scientist William “Sandy” Schenck at the Delaware Geological Survey said, “Doc Thompson's gift to me while I was his student was his incredible heartfelt enthusiasm for rocks. We shared a great love for the special rocks of the Delaware Piedmont and I constantly try to pass that enthusiasm onto everyone I talk to about Delaware geology."

Associate Professor of Geological Sciences Susan McGeary said, “He really cared about the students and they could tell that he really cared. That isn't something that can be taught—it just came from the man. He also had a wicked humor. He was a good guy.”

He and his wife, Linda, were married in Wilmington, Del. in 1997. Their combined love for hiking took them throughout the West where they enjoyed nature and the outdoors.  For many years, he was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Newark, then later joined The Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek, where he and Linda were active members.

He is survived by: his wife, Linda J. Lucero; his two daughters from his first marriage to Marilyn Jones Hopkins—Cynthia V. (Grace) Thompson Armes and her husband Geoffrey Armes, and Susan E. Thompson and her fiancé Jason Rita—his granddaughters Myra L. and Suzanna E. Armes; and his brother James C. Thompson and his wife Jean Swanson.

Former students, colleagues, friends, and family are invited to share memories of Dr. Thompson at In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association of Wilmington, Del., or to the scholarship fund established by the University of Delaware in his memory (see below).


Allan "Doc" Thompson Field Experience Scholarship Fund

We know of no better way to honor Dr. Thompson’s dedication to the UD field geology program throughout his career than by establishing the Allan Thompson Field Experience Scholarship Fund. This endowment will provide financial aid to students to attend a full summer field camp as well as help the Department of Geological Sciences to offer a new field course that spans both an academic semester and the first third of the summer.  

To contribute – go to

Answer “yes” to the question “Is this gift an honorary or memorial gift?

In the box “special instructions”  indicate GEOL 462112 – Geology Field Studies- Allan Thompson