Kenneth Nordahl Thompson


Kenneth “Ken” Nordahl Thompson, 82, died at Canyon Creek Memory Care in Billings, MT on Thursday, July 9, 2020 with COVID-19. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 9, 2021 at First Lutheran Church in Beach with Pastor Roger Dieterle officiating. Interment will take place at the Beach Lutheran Cemetery. Silha Funeral Home of Beach has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Ken was born to Theodore “Ted” and Sophie (Erickson) Thompson on November 15, 1937 at the old NP Hospital in Glendive, MT. He grew up and attended schools in Beach, ND, graduating in 1955 second in his class. At Beach High School, Ken participated in basketball and football, FFA and band (at the spring music festival his clarinet solo received a Highly Superior rating). Summers he would be at second base for the Beach American Legion or the “Bees” baseball teams.

He attended Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, for two years then transferred to South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City, SD graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He then entered graduate school at Montana State College in Bozeman where he received his Masters of Science and PhD in chemistry. After graduating, he briefly taught chemistry at South Dakota School of Mines.

He began his industrial research career with Pratt-Whitney Aircraft, West Palm Beach, FL where he helped develop heat-resistant coatings on the Lunar Lander engine; then at Anheuser-Busch labs, St. Louis, MO investigated the chemistry of flavor in beer; and then to Clinton, IA where he worked at Clinton Corn, a division of Standard Brands. There his research led to his patent on a process to increase the yield of high-fructose sugar from corn. Ken retired from industry in 1974 and returned to Beach to farm as his dad approached retirement.

Ken served the 39th District in the ND legislature from 1978 to 1990; and served as chair of the appropriations committee. He enjoyed golf at local courses and when the biennial Legislature was adjourned he often traveled to southern states in winter to play golf.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents.

Ken is survived by his brother, Gary of Columbus, MT and sister, Sheryl (Wayne) Saverud of Kalispell, MT. Also surviving are his nieces: Erica (Scott) Anderson of Torrance, CA, their children Tyler and Haley; Sara (Gabe) Russell of Maple Valley, WA; and Anna Saverud (Ian Welch) of Bozeman and son Oliver. Ken was respected by all who knew him. He was a wonderful son, brother, and uncle loved by his family who will surely miss him.

Memorials may be given to Golden Valley Manor, 260 5th St. SW, Beach, ND 58621; or to the donor’s choice. Remembrances and condolences may be left with the family at:

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