2017-08-16 / Opinions

Truman Thompson, retired fire chief, dies at age 70


Truman Thompson, Whitesburg’s first black fire chief, died Tuesday morning after a long illness. He was 70. Thompson was a firefighter for 49 years, 34 of them with the Whitesburg Fire Department. Truman Thompson, Whitesburg’s first black fire chief, died Tuesday morning after a long illness. He was 70. Thompson was a firefighter for 49 years, 34 of them with the Whitesburg Fire Department. Longtime Whitesburg Fire Chief and firefighter Truman Nathaniel Thompson died Tuesday morning after a long illness.

Thompson, 70, was the first black fire chief in Whitesburg, and served on the department for 34 years. He was a firefighter for 49 years.

Thompson retired in 2009 after serving as fire chief for 11 years. He began volunteering at Jenkins Fire Department in 1968, and became a paid firefighter in 1972. He served as assistant chief to Whitesburg Fire Chief Philmore Bowen and then to Chief Roy Benge. He succeeded Benge as chief in 1998.

Following his retirement, Thompson volunteered as chaplain and as a fire instructor at the Sandlick Volunteer Fire Department until he became too ill to continue.

Thompson had recovered from lung cancer once, but it recurred. He was in the Greg and Noreen Wells Hospice Center in Hazard at the time of his death.

Funeral arrangements had not been completed at press time, but visitation is expected to be Friday with funeral services on Saturday.

Area firefighters are planning a fireman’s funeral.

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