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  • Carl Thompson Passes Away

    [V] This just in from Dick Quinn: Carl B. Thompson passed away in South Bend December 8, 2007. Carl was one of the more visible and better-known of Studebaker's last employees in the South Bend area. He was 98 years old. Dick describes Carl as "one of the finest gentlemen you'd ever ask to meet," and I'd agree.

    Carl was employed by Studebaker in South Bend from November 28, 1933 through July 1, 1972. Carl spent most of his time at Studebaker in corporate publications. Carl reported having the dubious honor of being the one to turn off the lights on that last day, when Studebaker's original SASCO Parts & Service Division formally closed.

    I had met and talked with Carl numerous times over the years. In January 1986, I was privileged to have been invited to his South Bend home to conduct a lengthy interview that appeared in the March 1986 Turning Wheels, an issue dedicated to memories of Studebaker's Hamilton closing 20 years earlier.

    We didn't print in Turning Wheels the most startling thing Carl told me during that interview, in my opinion, so I'll relate it here. It reflects the realities that surrounded South Bend's most prominent employer in the 1950s:

    Carl and his wife wanted to buy a new home in South Bend, in 1957. Carl told me the local mortgage lender (either a Bank or Savings & Loan, I forget which) would not loan Carl and his wife the money for the home on his credit-worthiness as a white-collar Studebaker employee with well over 20 years' service! But the lender would make the loan based on the credit-worthiness of his wife's job as a South Bend Community Corporation school teacher!

    What more stark indicator of Studebaker's precarious financial condition during the 1953-1958 era could you ask for? And I couldn't help but wonder: Just where did the lender think the money was coming from to pay school teachers, if not from taxes collected as a result of prosperous local industry? [?]

    Dick Quinn was able to "spring" Carl from his retirement home in South Bend this past June [2007], and the two of them could be seen cruising the show field in a canopied golf cart at The 2007 SDC/ASC International Meet. (It was not ascertained whether the cart was for Dick's or Carl's benefit.)

    Dick stopped near where I was judging and called me over to their cart, where I was glad to see Carl, shake his hand, and say "hello" for what would prove to be the last of many times. His mind was still quite sharp. We should all be so fortunate to have attended the SDC/ASC International Meet immediately preceding our passing!

    RIP Carl B. Thompson: May 17, 1909 - December 8, 2007. [V] BP





    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    Bob, thanks for the post and memories. I did not have the p;easure of meeting this man but knew of him through his "lights out" story. Just goes to that we all are getting older and those who have memories of the SB plant operation are getting fewer and fewer. Thanks for the memories Carl.

    See you in the future as I write about our past
    sigpicSee you in the future as I write about our past

    Comment


    • #3
      Bob, thanks for the post and memories. I did not have the p;easure of meeting this man but knew of him through his "lights out" story. Just goes to that we all are getting older and those who have memories of the SB plant operation are getting fewer and fewer. Thanks for the memories Carl.

      See you in the future as I write about our past
      sigpicSee you in the future as I write about our past

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for that, Bob. Wish I'd had the chance to meet him.
        The perspective such a person has, having lived through what I believe to be the most exciting century. I'll look through my old TWs when I get home and hope I have that one.

        Western Washington, USA

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for that, Bob. Wish I'd had the chance to meet him.
          The perspective such a person has, having lived through what I believe to be the most exciting century. I'll look through my old TWs when I get home and hope I have that one.

          Western Washington, USA

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by BobPalma


            We didn't print in Turning Wheels the most startling thing Carl told me during that interview, in my opinion, so I'll relate it here. It reflects the realities that surrounded South Bend's most prominent employer in the 1950s:

            Carl and his wife wanted to buy a new home in South Bend, in 1957. Carl told me the local mortgage lender (either a Bank or Savings & Loan, I forget which) would not loan Carl and his wife the money for the home on his credit-worthiness as a white-collar Studebaker employee with well over 20 years' service! But the lender would make the loan based on the credit-worthiness of his wife's job as a South Bend Community Corporation school teacher!
            They say when someone who lives a long life like that passes away, you've just lost a set of encylopedia's worth of knowledge.[B)]

            Just out of curiosity, what kind of home was Carl trying to buy in 1957? One that we call in today's lingo 'million dollar plus' estate home, being a 'white collar'? Or one like the restored 'workers' home next to the museum??

            Craig

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by BobPalma


              We didn't print in Turning Wheels the most startling thing Carl told me during that interview, in my opinion, so I'll relate it here. It reflects the realities that surrounded South Bend's most prominent employer in the 1950s:

              Carl and his wife wanted to buy a new home in South Bend, in 1957. Carl told me the local mortgage lender (either a Bank or Savings & Loan, I forget which) would not loan Carl and his wife the money for the home on his credit-worthiness as a white-collar Studebaker employee with well over 20 years' service! But the lender would make the loan based on the credit-worthiness of his wife's job as a South Bend Community Corporation school teacher!
              They say when someone who lives a long life like that passes away, you've just lost a set of encylopedia's worth of knowledge.[B)]

              Just out of curiosity, what kind of home was Carl trying to buy in 1957? One that we call in today's lingo 'million dollar plus' estate home, being a 'white collar'? Or one like the restored 'workers' home next to the museum??

              Craig

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by 8E45E

                quote:Originally posted by BobPalma


                We didn't print in Turning Wheels the most startling thing Carl told me during that interview, in my opinion, so I'll relate it here. It reflects the realities that surrounded South Bend's most prominent employer in the 1950s:

                Carl and his wife wanted to buy a new home in South Bend, in 1957. Carl told me the local mortgage lender (either a Bank or Savings & Loan, I forget which) would not loan Carl and his wife the money for the home on his credit-worthiness as a white-collar Studebaker employee with well over 20 years' service! But the lender would make the loan based on the credit-worthiness of his wife's job as a South Bend Community Corporation school teacher!
                They say when someone who lives a long life like that passes away, you've just lost a set of encylopedia's worth of knowledge.[B)]

                Just out of curiosity, what kind of home was Carl trying to buy in 1957? One that we call in today's lingo 'million dollar plus' estate home, being a 'white collar'? Or one like the restored 'workers' home next to the museum??

                Craig
                A modest, 3-bedroom rectangular ranch on a small city lot, Craig. Nothing even remotely fancy. [8D] BP
                We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                Ayn Rand:
                "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by 8E45E

                  quote:Originally posted by BobPalma


                  We didn't print in Turning Wheels the most startling thing Carl told me during that interview, in my opinion, so I'll relate it here. It reflects the realities that surrounded South Bend's most prominent employer in the 1950s:

                  Carl and his wife wanted to buy a new home in South Bend, in 1957. Carl told me the local mortgage lender (either a Bank or Savings & Loan, I forget which) would not loan Carl and his wife the money for the home on his credit-worthiness as a white-collar Studebaker employee with well over 20 years' service! But the lender would make the loan based on the credit-worthiness of his wife's job as a South Bend Community Corporation school teacher!
                  They say when someone who lives a long life like that passes away, you've just lost a set of encylopedia's worth of knowledge.[B)]

                  Just out of curiosity, what kind of home was Carl trying to buy in 1957? One that we call in today's lingo 'million dollar plus' estate home, being a 'white collar'? Or one like the restored 'workers' home next to the museum??

                  Craig
                  A modest, 3-bedroom rectangular ranch on a small city lot, Craig. Nothing even remotely fancy. [8D] BP
                  We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                  Ayn Rand:
                  "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                  G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:Originally posted by 8E45E

                    They say when someone who lives a long life like that passes away, you've just lost a set of encylopedia's worth of knowledge.[B)]

                    Craig
                    How timely that observation, Craig! When I opened Dick Quinn's e-mail this morning with the news of Carl's passing, your encyclopedia remark is exactly what I said to Dick in my return e-mail, before even posting this. Great minds think alike and all that...[:0][8D] BP
                    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                    Ayn Rand:
                    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:Originally posted by 8E45E

                      They say when someone who lives a long life like that passes away, you've just lost a set of encylopedia's worth of knowledge.[B)]

                      Craig
                      How timely that observation, Craig! When I opened Dick Quinn's e-mail this morning with the news of Carl's passing, your encyclopedia remark is exactly what I said to Dick in my return e-mail, before even posting this. Great minds think alike and all that...[:0][8D] BP
                      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                      Ayn Rand:
                      "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry to hear about Carl Thompson's death. I remember reading about him in TW.

                        His house story reminds me of what Lee Iacocca said in his autobiography about when Chrysler was meeting with bankers. This was after the government load guarantees.



                        Leonard Shepherd
                        http://leonardshepherd.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry to hear about Carl Thompson's death. I remember reading about him in TW.

                          His house story reminds me of what Lee Iacocca said in his autobiography about when Chrysler was meeting with bankers. This was after the government load guarantees.



                          Leonard Shepherd
                          http://leonardshepherd.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            On Page 32 of the December 1983 Turning Wheels is a photo of Carl Thompson and yours truly, among others, during a visit to South Bend for the "20-Years-After-Closing" Building Tour article therein. [8D] BP
                            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                            Ayn Rand:
                            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                            G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              On Page 32 of the December 1983 Turning Wheels is a photo of Carl Thompson and yours truly, among others, during a visit to South Bend for the "20-Years-After-Closing" Building Tour article therein. [8D] BP
                              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                              Ayn Rand:
                              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                              G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                              Comment

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