WCOG Founding Member Alan Thompson Remembered.

WCOG Founding Member Sen. Alan Thompson Dies at 92

Longtime public servant, former newspaper publisher and founding member of the Coalition Alan Thompson passed away this summer.

Sen. Alan Thompson

Sen. Thompson, 92, passed away July 28, 2019 in his Olympia home. Memorial services took place Sept. 7 at the state legislative rotunda.

He served in both houses of the Washington state legislature, 17 years in the House and four years in the Senate, promoting landmark legislation that included the Open Public Meetings Act in 1971.  In 1986 he become chief clerk of the House, managing over 200 legislative support staff, before retiring in 1993.

He was a founding member of the Washington Coalition for Open Government in 2002, and served on the board and the advisory council for many years. The Ballard/Thompson Award, launched in 2011, was named in his honor and also for former Speaker of the House Clyde Ballard. The award recognizes state legislators who provide exceptional support or dedication to the cause of open government.

Sen. Thompson was born May 17, 1927 in Geneva, Iowa. He joined the Navy after graduating from high school, shortly before WWII ended. A year later, he studied journalism at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and met Barbara Rowland, another journalism major, who became his wife of 67 years; she predeceased him in 2016.

During their marriage, they published two newspapers: the Wahkiakum County Eagle, in Cathlamet, Washington; and later the Cowlitz County Advocate in Castle Rock, Washington. All four of their sons worked at the family enterprise.

Sen. Thompson is survived by four sons, three daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren, all of Olympia. They include Rowland, Amy and their daughter Nani (sophomore at Western Washington University); Sam; James, Megan and their son Nicholas (sophomore at Olympia High School) and daughter Margaret (eighth grader at Washington Middle School); and Jonathan and Rosalind and their sons Owen (senior at Washington State University) and Drew (freshman at Colorado State University).

Further information:

Wahkiakum County Eagle obituary

Funeral alternatives obituary