Fullerton College Centennial


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Thomas Thompson’s grandparents, Orrin and Daisy Thompson, moved to Fullerton with their children, in 1912. His father, Raymond, graduated from FUHS in 1922, attended FC 1923–24, then transferred to USC law school. When he started his practice, he was one of only seven lawyers in Fullerton. Thompson recalls that when he was about ten years old, he would go with his grandmother and other ladies to the cannery that the college had at that time, from 1947 to 1950. On Saturdays, the college let the town ladies come and can their own fruit or fish.

Thompson decided to follow in his father’s Hornet footsteps as the college was close to home and had a student work program driving school buses for the Fullerton Union High School District and Fullerton College. Thompson drove Hal Sherbeck to all the games until 1977. One bus carried the defense and the other bus the offense players, with specially painted team signs proudly perched on the front grills.

Thompson remembers that the college was much smaller and students did not come from as far as they do now. He enjoyed the technical education classes, especially Auto Shop with Dallas Hazelton. Many others made an impact on his life, including Coaches Hal Sherbeck and Ernie Polte, Bill Chambers, Charles Ruby, Dr. Lynn Sheller, Dr. Warburton, and Harold Keller.

Thompson continued on as a firefighter for the La Habra Heights and Fullerton Fire Departments, later becoming a Fire Inspector. He credits Fullerton College for giving him the skills to begin and operate his own bus company and full service shop; the foundation for mechanical practices used in heavy rescues from automobiles and machinery; and the knowledge to understand all types of mechanical machines and operations during inspections of large and small industries.

He advises students to study hard and apply what they have learned to reach the lifestyle they seek for “knowledge is power.” Thompson recalls the advice given to him by Bill Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Brothers Machine Shop in Buena Park, at the age of ninety after working in the shop for 80 years, "Anyone who can work with their hands will never starve to death".



Dates at FC





Annual Certificate of Award, Fullerton College Inter-Club Council, 1980–2011
Firefighter, Fire Prevention Officer/Investigator, Fullerton Fire Department, 1977
Owner and Operater, Thompson Transportation, 1966–1977
Radio Teletype Operator, United States Army, 1963–1965
Fullerton Union High School Transportation Department, 1958–1966