Obituary: Oliver Thompson

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The Independent Online
Oliver Frederic Thompson, oil executive and educationalist: born 26 January 1905; OBE 1945; Pro-Chancellor, City University 1966-72; married 1939 Frances Bryant (one son, three daughters); died Aldeburgh 28 February 1993.

OLIVER THOMPSON, a notable oil man and educationalist, in recent years lived quietly in retirement as one of the most distinguished citizens of Aldeburgh, a town not devoid of distinguished citizens.

Although he seemed reluctant to talk about it, the highlight of Thompson's long career of managerial posts with the Shell group of companies was his stint as Head of the Oil Section at the Ministry of Economic Warfare and member of the War Cabinet Sub-committee on oil, in 1942-46. As Court member and Master of the Skinners Company, he was proud to be a governor of Tonbridge School, but prouder still, I fancy, to have been a founder of the City University, in London, and its Pro Chancellor in 1966-72. The university had developed under his guidance from a transformed and transplanted Northampton College of Advanced Technology of whose governing body he had been chairman.

Aldeburgh and its Golf Club had been for many years both his spiritual and physical holiday home in preparation for retirement, and he built himself an ingenious wooden house on stilts on the edge of the town and on marshland well above flood-level, surrounded by a lovely garden of his own creation. There, while his memory and talent as an author were still unimpaired, he wrote The History of Aldeburgh Golf Club 1884-1984 (1984), a model of accurate reporting all the better for being the child of an affectionate parent.

(Photograph omitted)

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