CORTLAND – Oneonta native William Ward Thompson, 88 , who worked on the space program as an IBM engineer/manager in Owego, passed away on Feb. 16, 2019, in Cortland, with his call sign – W2MTA – joining the many Silent Keys of Amateur Radio. There are a surprising number of people in this niche community, who enjoy using a ham radio on the go to communicate with like minded people the world over.
Bill was born July 1, 1931, in Oneonta, son of the late Ward and Dorothy (McQueen) Thompson.
After graduating from Oneonta High School in 1949, he became an amateur radio operator as W2MTA in 1952, then joined the Marine Corps as a field radio operator during the Korean War, being discharged in 1960 as sergeant.
Upon graduation from Hartwick College in 1957, he joined IBM as a flight test engineer at Broome County Airport (Binghamton) with later tasks as aerospace engineer/manager for 30 years in Owego, including the Saturn V/Apollo Manned Space Flight Awareness Program of the 1960s.
He held numerous leadership positions in both IBM and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) over the years.
He was a devoted member of Most Holy Rosary Church in Maine, Broome County, and its Council of The Knights of Columbus.
Calling hours will be 5 to 7 p.m., March 1, at MacPherson Funeral Home, 5 Whig St., Newark Valley. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., March 2, in Most Holy Rosary Church, 2586 Main St. (Route 26) in Maine.
For those wishing to honor Bill’s memory, kindly consider a donation to the Tioga County Rural Ministry, 134 North Ave., Owego NY 13827, or the Quarter Century Wireless Association Scholarship Fund at www.qcwa.org/scholarship-program.htm.
Memories and condolences may be written in William’s guestbook at macphersonfh.com.