Obituary – Dr. Gunnar Thompson

Joe Gunnar Thompson

Joe Gunnar Thompson was born February 19, 1946 to Roy and Florence Thompson of Seattle. He passed away May 7, 2017 after a battle with cancer.

Gunnar grew up south of Chicago, earned the Eagle Scout rank and was a counselor at a summer camp in Michigan. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in anthropology while doing research at Cahokia Indian Mounds in southern Illinois. He received a grant from the University of Wisconsin where he earned a doctorate in Rehabilitation Therapy. During his career, Gunnar taught at the State University of Whitewater in Wisconsin, Duke University, California State University at Fresno, and the University of Hawaii. He also did rehabilitation therapy work for Harborview Hospital in Seattle and for Jefferson County in Port Townsend.

Gunnar was an accomplished artist in the mediums of painting, stained-glass, pottery and illustration. He was an expert on the history of pre-Columbian world maps and pre-Columbian multicultural contacts between the Old World and the Americas. He published eight major books detailing evidence of contacts and trade between Scandinavia and America, and between China and America before the time of Columbus. In 2006 he presented a talk in Beijing on the 1418 Ming World Map that showed Chinese knowledge of North and South America before the time of Columbus.

Gunnar is survived by brothers Thor Thompson of Seattle and Rhude Thompson of Honolulu.


 Published in The Seattle Times on May 14, 2017

He is sorely missed by his brothers and by many friends. He was a true and reliable friend, always willing and available to help when needed. We hold his memory, all his laughter, quirks, obsessions, talent, good cheer, and consideration for others closely in our hearts.

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