An accident, appropriately enough, sparked Michael Thompson's interest in becoming a paramedic.
The Santa Rosa man was hiking the back country with a friends decades ago when a boy who was with the group fell and suffered a head injury. Nobody knew how to treat the bleeding wound, so the men scooped the boy up and carried him several hours to safety.
Thompson resolved afterward to take a class in emergency medicine. He went on to become a paramedic, including most recently with the Sonoma Fire Department.
Thompson died July 17 at the Santa Rosa home he shared with his longtime partner, June Hargis. Thompson, who had type-2 diabetes, may have suffered a heart attack.
He was 64.
Thompson, a third-generation Petaluman, was born on March 7, 1949. After graduating from Petaluma High School, he took a few classes at Santa Rosa Junior College before stumbling on his chosen career path.
Hargis said she met Thompson in 1992 through his sister, a real estate agent who helped Hargis find a home in Santa Rosa. She said she and Thompson had much in common, including the fact they had each been married before.
She said Thompson displayed empathy and a caring attitude, attributes she said “spoke to my heart.” After they began dating, one of their first excursions was a drive to redwood country.
“It was night, and raining. He tried showing me the tops of the trees by shining a flashlight beam up there. He loved the rain. He loved the snow. And he loved a challenge when he was driving,” Hargis said.
Thompson was no adrenaline junkie, however. Hargis said he had a childlike love for driving ambulances.
“He didn't have to have it, or crave it. It was just the joy of it really,” she said.
He worked five years with Norrbom's Ambulance Service in Sonoma, and then with the Sonoma Fire Department until he retired in 2005.
He told funny stories, and sad stories, about his work. The hardest times were the calls involving kids.
“He just concentrated on the job and did what needed to be done,” Hargis said.
Thompson enjoyed camping, trout fishing and reading fiction.
Besides Hargis, Thompson is survived by a sister, Ali Asper of Sonoma. There will be no public services.