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American Veteran 04


Dennis L Thomson

February 20, 1935 ~ October 6, 2018 (age 83)

Dennis L Thomson, passed away peacefully at home, on Saturday, October 6, 2018 surrounded by family, in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He was born on a farm in Weston, Idaho, to Ivan and Ella Thompson on February 20, 1935, the second of four children. Dennis met his dear companion of sixty years, Karen Chatterton, in Preston in 1958. They were married only a few weeks later in the Logan LDS Temple, and shared their entire lives together, living and travelling all over the world. They raised seven children, who survive them: Catherine (Mark) Morris, Nan (Mark) Atwood, Jennifer (Kurt) Walker, Benjamin (Laura), Elizabeth (Trent) Hart, Thomas (Stephanie), and Ian (LaDonne Harris). He is also survived by 23 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, along with his sister Margaret Silk. He is preceded in death by his brothers Ivan Barry and Thomas Thompson.

Dennis graduated early as the valedictorian of Westside High School and proudly attended the University of Idaho.  He served as an intelligence officer in the United States Army, and then went on to receive a master’s degree from Arizona State University before serving as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. He later received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and spent the rest of his career in academia. He held academic appointments at several universities, including the University of Arizona, the University of Utah, SUNY-Binghamton, and Brigham Young University, along with visiting professorships at Trinity College and the University of Edinburgh. At BYU, where he spent the last 25 years of his career, Dennis served as the Chairman of the Political Science Department, Associate Academic Vice President, and Associate Dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. Over the course of his career he served as a Fullbright scholar in Burundi and Rwanda, as an administrator at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, and as an American adviser to the Namibian Constitutional Convention.

Dennis served as a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served an LDS mission in the France-Belgium mission as a young man, and later with his wife in Jerusalem as the Israel District President, in addition to serving as a ward bishop twice.

Dennis had a passion for experiencing life and loved to travel and see the world, he spent countless hours tending to his yard and garden, and enjoyed classical music. All that knew him loved him as a wonderful example of loyalty, integrity, and hard work.

Dennis battled Parkinsons Disease for fifteen years, but was lovingly cared for until the end by Karen and his family. The family would like to thank the wonderful care from Lisa, Monica, and Mark at Valeo Hospice.

An evening viewing will be held Friday, October 12, 2018 from 6:30 -7:30 p.m. at Olpin Family Mortuary, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove. Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Timpanogos Third Ward Chapel, 425 East 500 North, Pleasant Grove, Utah where family and friends may attend a viewing from 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. prior to the service. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery.  Military honors will be conducted by American Legion Post 72. 

Condolences may be sent to the family at    

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