Softball Player Profile: Rick Thompson

Larry Wolfe

A native of the Greater D.C. area, Richard “Rick” Thompson was born in Vienna, Virginia, and graduated from George C. Marshall High in nearby Falls Church in 1968. Rick was in their electronics vocational program and continued his education in electronics at Northern Virginia Community College. He planned to transfer into NVCC’s engineering program, but instead got a “call” from Uncle Sam.

Rather than enter the draft, he joined the Air Force National Guard. He went to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and later received radio relay training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. He would serve in the Guard for seven years. His unit was called to active duty during the Vietnam War protests in D.C. He says, “They gave us a gun, but no bullets!”

In early 1971, Rick went to work for AT&T in what would turn out to be a 31-year career with the company. He spent his entire career working in various AT&T facilities throughout the D.C. area. His early training in electronics proved valuable as he worked primarily as a communications technician. During his career, he did a lot of military and government work and was also a major contributor to AT&T’s conversion from analog to digital switching technology in the mid-1980s. With his 30+ years of service, he was able to retire at age 52 and has been retired ever since.

Rick met his late wife Connie at AT&T, where she was a co-worker. They married in 1980 and had one daughter, Erica. They also raised Connie’s daughter Stacy from a previous marriage. There are now a total of six grandkids from their “blended family.” The Thompsons moved to Arizona in 2006 and lived the “good retirement life” until Connie sadly passed away due to cancer in 2015.

During their retirement years, they liked to participate in Native American spiritual activities such as sweat lodges and vision quest retreats. (Their interest stemmed from the fact that some of Connie’s early ancestors were Native American.)

Rick started playing in our softball league in 2017 and really enjoys the camaraderie with all the guys. He played from when he was a young man until he was around 35 before “hanging up his cleats” to devote more time to raising his family. After a nearly 30-year hiatus, he “unhung” his cleats and joined us!

A couple years after Connie passed, Rick met Dianne Burns of Palo Verde via, and the rest is history. They’ve now been a couple for over four years. Rick and Dianne enjoy traveling around in their RV during the summers. They drive north to visit Dianne’s family and friends in Iowa, then head out for other destinations throughout the Midwest and West. Rick says they get some funny looks when they pull into an RV site pulling along a two-seater Mercedes!

Rick’s thankful for the life he had and the life he now has, calling Dianne a real Godsend.