It is with profound sadness that the Thompson family, formerly of Red Bank, announces that Stafford W. Thompson, who had been a long-time Red Bank resident, died Nov. 21 in South Africa. Thompson had been an engineer employed at Fort Monmouth in Eatontown before deciding to pursue a career in law and worked as an attorney for many years in Red Bank.
Thompson was a native of New York City where he was born and attended primary and secondary school and where he earned a bachelor’s degree in math from the City College of New York (CCNY). He was later awarded a Master of Science from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. After his decision to pursue law, he earned a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers Law School in Newark where current Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg was one of his professors. He represented indigent defendants in criminal cases but also handled a wide array of civil cases.
Thompson also distinguished himself as a runner both in his youth as a member of the New York Pioneer Club and as a competitive Masters runner, competing well into his 70s. He competed internationally, having run in his age group at Masters Championships in Canada, Sweden, Italy and Eugene, Oregon. He also officiated many Jersey Shore Marathons and track and field events at Princeton University.
Thompson was a leading activist in the struggle to achieve equal rights for African-Americans and other minorities in the state of New Jersey, serving in various senior positions of the Red Bank Chapter of the NAACP, including as head of the education committee where he created and led a one-on-one tutoring program for many students in the Red Bank schools. He also served as commissioner of the Red Bank Housing Authority and member of the Shore Citizens for Better Human Relations. He was more than a lawyer to many of his clients, serving many as a mentor and a helping hand in times of crisis, even hosting the most needy in his home when they had no place else to go. The Thompson family is most proud of this aspect of Stafford Thompson’s legacy which will forever be anchored by a commitment to justice and fairness, selflessness and generosity.
Thompson is survived by his wife Florence Thompson and his daughters, Gail and Eve Thompson, all of Western Cape, South Africa; his daughter Tracey Turner of New Hampshire; and his granddaughter Honorate Robinson, also of South Africa.
Memorial services will be held in Red Bank in June 2019 with the precise date and venue to be announced through the memorial website forevermissed.com/stafford-wington-thompson. Family and friends are invited to this website to share their memories and reflections about Stafford.