Robert Bennett Thompson Jr (“Bob”) passed away on June 1st, 2023 in Richmond, VA after a six-month battle with cancer.

He was born in Miller Beach, IN on February 5 th , 1948 and was the middle child of three to parents Robert Sr and Vivian Thompson. Upon graduation from Wirt High School in Gary, IN, where he was a stand-out tailback on the football team and accomplished swimmer, Bob received a Congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy, Class of 1970. He played football his plebe year, but sustained a career-ending injury against Syracuse. After recovery, Bob rediscovered his true love: sailing. He joined the Naval Academy Sailing and Offshore Team, avidly sailing for the next three years and completing one trans-Atlantic race.

In August 1970, Bob married Stephanie Jo Michalec of Tampa, FL. They made homes in Annapolis and Centreville, MD and had one son, Nathaniel, in 1979.

Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, Bob service-selected Surface Warfare and was assigned to the USS Belknap (CG 26) as the Main Propulsion Assistant. He completed cruises to the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, and Caribbean. After leaving the Belknap, Bob was assigned to the Naval Academy and taught Seamanship and Navigation for two years. While there, he coached the Offshore Sailing Team, completing sails to Newport, Bermuda, and ports beyond.

In 1978, Bob separated from the Navy and began work at Annapolis-based ARINC, focusing on satellite data and voice communications. In 1993 he was offered an opportunity to work for INMARSAT, based out of London, England. Bob moved his wife and son to greater London for five years. After returning to the United States in 1998, he resumed working for ARINC, where he eventually retired to continue part time satellite communications consulting work.

Bob was passionate about restoring old houses, having taken on two 18th century restorations in Centreville, MD, and bringing them back to life with Stephanie. He was happiest on the water, though, and could always be found sailing or boating on the inlets and rivers of Maryland and Virginia whenever he could. In his final years, he joined the Old Bay Club in Richmond, VA, sailing Caledonia Yawls up and down the East Coast.

He is survived by his wife, Stephanie; his older sister, Nora; younger sister, Martha; son, Nathaniel; daughter-in-law, Darcy; and granddaughter, Molly.

A memorial will be held for Bob in Richmond, VA on November 4th, 2023.

Updated: November 14, 2023
Curator: Ed Moore