The Thomas Jefferson Institute has lost its Founder.
Mike Thompson, Founder, Chairman and Past President of the Thomas Jefferson Institute, passed away at Johns Hopkins the evening of September 7, surrounded by those he always knew were the most important people in his life — his family.
Mike was diagnosed with leukemia in October, 2018 and underwent a variety of treatments including a bone marrow transplant. Ironically, at his death, there were no longer any cancer cells in his bloodstream. But complications took their toll.
A visitation will be held from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Thursday, September 19th at the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, and the memorial service and reception will be held at 3:00 pm on Friday, September 20 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mike’s name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Mike Thompson got his start in youth politics, as a leader in the “Youth for Goldwater” movement, later joining the National Board of Young Americans for Freedom and leading the Student Committee for Victory in Vietnam. A passion for youth involvement continued throughout his life, especially as vice chairman of The Fund for American Studies which teaches the principles of limited government and free-market economics to students and young professionals in America and, indeed, throughout the world.
Nothing thrilled Mike more than to see a high school or college student actively engaged in conservative politics and advocacy.
To him, it was the hope of a better future.
Mike started and built his own company — the Thompson Creative Marketing Group — which helped advance the conservative cause by marketing ideas and candidates throughout the country. His vocation echoed his leadership in the Virginia Republican Party, and he was named by Campaigns and Elections magazine as one of the 30 most influential Republicans in Virginia.
His advocacy of the free market system also found him as chairman of the Virginia Leadership Council, the state’s Board of Directors for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business organization.
Active in his community, service on several Fairfax County commissions and task forces, and a three-time president of the Springfield District Council (an organization representing over 200 homeowner associations), the man was tireless – as anyone who received his emails time-stampled at two o’clock in the morning already knows.
Most men, when they retire …. retire. Instead, Mike launched the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, where he continued the battle to make a difference by developing Virginia-oriented public policy solutions based on free markets, limited government and individual responsibility.
The breadth of Mike Thompson’s ideas and interests was stunning. The lives he touched and inspired are countless. And the stories he could tell were without limit.
Mike is survived by his wife Katherine, daughter Liza Graves, son Michael Junior, and five grandchildren.
All of us at the Thomas Jefferson Institute are profoundly saddened at the passing of our friend and Founder, Michael W. Thompson.
But we take comfort in remembering the words of Walter Lippman: “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”
From Youth for Goldwater to the Thomas Jefferson Institute, Mike Thompson left hundreds, if not thousands, with those same convictions and the same will to carry on.
May he Rest In Peace.