Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dr. Patrick Alan Thompson, age 57, passed away Friday, September 7, 2012, in his home, surrounded by his family after a courageous two-year battle with cancer.

Pat was born on December 6, 1954 in Joplin. He graduated with high honors from Memorial High School in 1972. He attended Missouri Southern State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with his B.S. in biology in 1976.

While at Southern, he worked as a sportswriter for the Joplin Globe. Pat attended UMKC School of Dentistry on an Air Force Health Profession Scholar-ship. He worked for four years in the Kansas City Star sports department during dental school. In 1980, he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and was a member of Psi Omega dental fraternity.

Upon graduation, Pat was commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Air Force and served the first part of his four-year commitment at Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan. While in dental school in Kansas City, he met his lifelong sweetheart Debbie Sobba, a dental hygiene student from Garnett, Kansas. Pat came back from Japan and the following year married Debbie a week after her college graduation. They returned to Okinawa and from there completed the Air Force commitment at Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas.

In 1984, Pat returned to his hometown of Joplin and opened up his private practice. For four years, he and Debbie also associated with Dr. Bill Wiggans in Garnett. Over the next few years, they acquired other local dental practices. In 1999, they also started a satellite practice in Cassville, Mo.

In 2010, they built their dream facility at 2509 South Jackson. Six weeks after the grand opening, Pat was diagnosed with a very aggressive malignant brain tumor. Many area dentists volunteered days of their time to keep the office afloat for months while he received extensive medical care.

In June 2011, Dr. Craig Hayes, Jr. joined Pat in the Joplin and Cassville Dental care teams.

Pat had an illustrious dental career and won many awards for his dentistry. He became the first Missouri dentist to receive a fellowship in oral conscious sedation. He was also certified in I.V. sedation. Pat was one of the 65 dentists worldwide inducted as charter members of the Crown Council of Hunt, Texas.

He and Debbie participated annually in the Dentistry from the Heart Program, providing free dental care to those in need.

He and his dental team traveled around the country and studied under experts in the field in order to provide the best possible treatment and latest technology for their patients. In October, 2010, the Sunrise Dental Solutions Corporation of Lexington, Kentucky held a Thompson's Friends Golf Classic in his honor at the Atlantis in West Palm Beach Florida.

Pat was also a St. Louis Cardinals fanatic and collected baseball cards and memorabilia. He played on, coached and managed his sons' teams, youth all-star and men's co-ed and church league softball teams to many championships. He knew the sport inside and out. Pat also announced MSSU baseball games at Joe Becker Stadium.

Besides his love of baseball, he was an avid golfer, playing several times a week. He played in many area tournaments and enjoyed playing courses all over the country with his golfing buddies and his son, Brad.

He served on the Board of Directors and was a past president of Twin Hills Golf and Country Club. His love of sports led him to be the president of the Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School Booster Club for six years.

Pat and Debbie enjoyed fine dining, traveling and the arts. They went to several movies a week and attended numerous musical concerts each year. They are life members of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Joplin Little Theater, where they sponsored many productions.

Pat was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Joplin where he sang in the Sanctuary Singers and taught the Middle School Sunday School Class along with his wife, Debbie for seven years. In addition, Pat sang in a trio with his father Paul and son Brad, called "Three Generations."

Pat was also a past president of the MSSU Alumni Board, Joplin Board of Health and a host of other civic organizations. He was a member of over 15 dental organizations or study clubs at the local, state and national levels.

Pat was very kind, caring, loving and generous husband, father, son, friend and dentist to all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by their daughter, Leigh.

He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 31 years, Debbie, of the home; a son, Mike and his wife Kristi, and future grandson, Alex (due in November), of Edmond, OK; son, Brad, of the home, currently a student at the University of Tulsa; his parents, Paul and Joy Thompson of Joplin; in-laws, Jim and Laureen Sobba of Garnett, KS; brothers, Bob Thompson of Anderson, Mo., Tim Thompson and wife Malene of Breckenridge, Colo.; brother-in-law, Mike Sobba and his wife Debbie of Parkville, Mo.; brother-in-law Gary Sobba of Chapel Hill, N.C.; nephews, Chris Sobba of Houston, Texas, and Nick Sobba, of Parkville. Pat leaves behind many other beloved relatives.

Services were held 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, 501 W. 4th St. in Joplin, with longtime family friend and youth minister, Barry Sanborn, along with the Pastor, Rev. Bruce Jacobs, co-officiating.

The Cassville and Joplin Dental Care Team and spouses will be seated as a group. Visitation was held at First United Methodist Church, from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. Interment followrd at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery. Pallbearers were sons, Mike and Brad Thompson, brothers, Bob and Tim Thompson and brothers-in-law, Mike and Gary Sobba.

In lieu of flowers, and because of his love of baseball, the family suggests donations to Missouri Southern Foundation, 3950 E. Newman Rd., Joplin, MO 64801, toward a memorial in Pat's name, at the planned new baseball complex.