Breckenridge Texan

Chaunce Thompson

Chaunce Thompson
July 31
06:23 2022

Chaunce Olcott Thompson was born December 5, 1931, to Chaunce O. Thompson and Lillie Belle Sloan Thompson in Memphis, Texas. The family moved to Breckenridge in 1941 to go into the ranching business. He went home on July 29, 2022, at 6:50 a.m., which happened to be his favorite time of day, breakfast time.

In 1949 Chaunce graduated as Salutatorian of Breckenridge High School. In the fall of 1949, he left for Texas A&M University. He finished that year as a distinguished student and as a member of the Freshman Honor Society. He transferred to the University of Texas to earn a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering in December of 1953. While there, he earned recognition by the National Engineering Honor Society, the National Earth Science Honor Society, the National Military Honor Society and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He was a dedicated “Horns” fan who could be found yelling at his tv almost every Saturday from September to December.

From Austin, he entered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a 2nd Lieutenant and graduated first in his Engineer Officer Basic Class and Airport Engineer Class. As a part of the 923rd Engineering Aviation Group, he was dispatched to Germany and France to rebuild and expand airbases. He completed his duty to the military in 1956 and returned to the states as a petroleum engineer for the Atlantic Refining Company.

After spending a few months in Dallas, he chose to return to Breckenridge and enter the cattle business with his parents and his brother, Sloan. After his father passed away in 1958 while working cattle, the partnership was restructured between the boys and their mother as C&S Cattle Company, which remained intact until 2011.

In December of 1958, he met Peggy Aiken on a blind date set up by Jo Welch. Following a whirlwind 5-month romance, they married on June 8, 1959, and remained married for 55 years until Peggy’s passing in 2014. They had three sons, who were always the focal point of their full-page, annual Christmas letter that Chaunce scripted, Peggy typed and the boys dreaded. Together they raised the boys in Breckenridge, working them on the ranch almost every day they weren’t in school. Chaunce taught the boys a work ethic, common sense and an integrity that each of them have used throughout their lives.

He was a devoted son and husband. Throughout his life in Breckenridge, he stopped by his mother’s house every day. As she aged and became ill, he visited every morning after breakfast and went by every evening on his way home from the ranch. He and his brother made sure their mother had the compassionate care she needed so she could remain in her home throughout her life. Shortly after his mother’s passing, his attention had to shift to the care of his wife, who fell ill with dementia. He cared for her in every small and big way imaginable for almost 9 years. His patience and compassion for her never wore thin.

Along the way, Chaunce was a civil servant. It all started when he was elected to the Breckenridge ISD Board of Trustees in 1963. He loved it so much he served twelve years on the school board. In 1980, he was appointed to the formation team of the Stephens County Appraisal District, where he served as chair until 2009. In 1976, he was selected to be a director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He later served as Vice President from 1992-1995, President from 1995-1997 and has served on the executive committee since. He was appointed to the National Cattleman’s Association Board in 1991 and served six years on the executive committee. He served on the Texas Beef Industry Council from 1992-1998. He was appointed to the National Livestock and Meat Board in 1991 and served until 1996. In 1998, Governor George Bush appointed Chaunce to the Board of Regents of Midwestern State University for a six-year term.

Chaunce was preceded in death by his parents, Chaunce O. Thompson, Sr. and Lillie Belle Thompson; and, his wife, Margret Ann “Peggy” Thompson. He is survived by his brother, Sloan Thompson and his wife Mary of Breckenridge; his three sons, Hub Thompson and wife Lisa of Dallas, Jim Thompson and wife Diana of Breckenridge and Will Thompson and wife Denise of Breckenridge; his grandchildren, Ross Thompson, Nick Thompson, Marguerite Clark and husband Braden, Matthew Thompson and wife Sarah, Callie Buchok and husband Andrew, Taylor Wooten and husband Josh, Hailey Watter and husband Kyle, and Tana Thompson; multiple bonus-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and 6 great-grandchildren. Chaunce is also survived by his life-long friend and companion for the last seven years, Diane Jones of Brady.

Finally, Chaunce loved his church, the First Presbyterian Church of Breckenridge. Since 1960, he served as a trustee and/or elder, a Sunday school teacher, a candle lighter, a fill-in preacher, a repairman, a janitor, a historian and the keeper of all things sacred. We would ask that memorials be made to First Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.

If you asked our Father who he was, he would probably say something like, “I am just a rancher, just a husband, just a father, just a man. A man who loved my wife, my family and my Lord, Jesus Christ. I did what I could in this world. I tried to pick the high way. I hoped I left it in a little better shape than when I arrived.”

And that, my friends, is a legacy worth leaving.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 2, at First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Linda Leveridge and Rev. Andrew Channer officiating. Immediately following the service, a reception will be held in the Bethany Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. The family welcomes and encourages all to attend and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres at the reception, regardless of service attendance.

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