Warden Roy Thompson


Department: Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Rank: Special Deputy
Age: 31
Tour of Duty: 4 years
End of Watch: August 21, 1958
Cause of Death: Motorcycle Accident

In the morning of Wednesday, August 21, 1958, Game Warden Roy W. Thompson was pronounced dead on the site of a motorcycle accident at Pyramid Pass, near Seeley Lake, Montana.

Thompson had been riding the Pyramid Pass trail with Graham Wilson. At a switchback in the trail, Thompson went over the edge, falling eighty feet and sliding forty more. Thompson and Wilson had been photographing and inspecting the area prior to the accident.

Graham Wilson rode his motorcycle three miles back on the trail to his truck and then drove to the Seeley Lake Ranger Station to get medical assistance. Ranger Robert Rehfeld, Assistant Ranger Charles Kern and six other men rushed to the scene. Along with the rangers and their crew the USFS dispatched an airplane with eight emergency-equipped smoke jumpers. The smoke jumpers parachuted in to the area where Roy Thompson lay injured.

Thompson was found dead when the crews arrived. They carried him one hundred and fifty yards to a clearing where a helicopter was able to land. Thompson was then flown to the ranger station and then transported back to Missoula.

Roy Thompson was born on April 4, 1927 in Missoula. After graduating from Missoula County High School, Roy Thompson joined the United States Maritime Service in 1944. Following his discharge, Thompson returned to Missoula and worked for seven years with the Lindborg Tire Company before being appointed as a game warden with the Montana Fish and Game Department. He had been with the Fish and Game since September of 1953 and was stationed at Clearwater.

Thompson was survived by his widow, Joan; two sons, James and Scott; a daughter, Sheryl; and his mother, Mrs. Margaret Stears. His father was the late James Thompson, a former sheriff of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department.  Other survivors were three half-brothers, James Taylor, Frank W. Taylor and C. Wyman Taylor; and three sisters, J.F. Moderie, Mrs. Ray Clinkingbeard and Mrs. Roberta Koch.