Cover photo for James L. Thompson, Sr.'s Obituary
James L. Thompson, Sr. Profile Photo

James L. Thompson, Sr.

d. October 4, 2022

Rev. James Lavelle Thompson, Sr., 67, of Inkster, MI passed away October 4, 2022.

Reverend James Lavelle Thompson Sr. was the oldest living child born to the union of Jewel and Clara Mae Godfrey in El Dorado, Arkansas on February 8th, 1955. The separation of his parents, while initially tumultuous, opened the door for new parental relationships to manifest the blessing of many siblings. His siblings, Alice, Jessie, Howard, Leonard, Brenda, Gretta, Jewel W., Denise, Jewel, John, Cynthia, Dennis, Teresa, Stephanie, Dewayne, Barbara, and Anthony, stretched from the South to the Midwest. They all loved their big brother fiercely! He also gained a beautifully loving and accepting stepmother, Minnie Mae Thompson. James Sr.’s essence combines the best of both worlds, having that southern hospitality warmth and the midwestern down-to-earth niceness. Perhaps, this explains his charismatic, larger-than-life personality that was so charming and infectious. Meeting no strangers, his welcoming presence could captivate anyone for hours, along with his vivid stories, thunderous voice, and boisterous laughter.

James Sr. had humble beginnings intricately laced together with love and rooted in the faith. From a young child, he was parented by his loving uncle and aunt, Jessie and Clara Hogan who raised him with the core principles of Christianity. As a young child, James Sr. accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and was baptized by Rev. Goodwin at Caledonia Baptist Church in El Dorado. James Sr. grew to be a talented pianist and singer in the church and eventually submitted to the call to preach the Gospel in 1983. Although James Sr. was plagued with sickle cell thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that caused chronic pain and illness, it was the healing power of Christ that gave him hope to live, dream, and journey forward.

In 1973 James Sr. migrated north where he met the love of his life, Pearlene Mathews. The legend goes that when he first laid eyes on her he proclaimed, “You gone be my wife!” He affectionately called her Suga and to this day many of their friends and family know her as Shug. In 1975 they married and to that union was born four children, James Thompson Jr., Rev. David Thompson (Charlunda), Dr. TaLawnda Bragg (Elder Sidney Bragg, Jr.), and Darrell Thompson. Family was everything to James Sr. The most important thing for him as a father was being there, as he pledged his undying devotion to Suga and the kids. He was a very present father and took every opportunity to brag about the successes of his children, an army sergeant, a minister and teacher, a doctor, and an engineer. With love, resilience, tenacity, and prayer, James Sr. and Suga created a legacy of excellence.

James Sr. is what one might call a man-of-all-work. He had many skills and talents. After graduating from high school, he went on to Ross Business Institute and became an electrician.  He further answered his call to the ministry with graduation from the Michigan Theological Seminary. He strived to place God at the forefront of all his major life decisions. He was passionate about electronics and his knowledge evolved with the birth of the technology era. He mastered computer science and flourished as a computer specialist and entrepreneur, establishing Inkster Custom Build PC with Shug.

In addition to his darling wife Pearlene, and his mother Clara, he leaves to mourn his brothers and sisters, along with a host of family and friends that loved him dearly. James Sr. was proud of the legacy he and Pearl created. His was most proud of his grand- and great grandchildren.  His legacy will live on through them, Maleik, Jawon (Jennifer), Jayda, Maalachi, Nehemiah, Izabella, Izrael, Ezekiel, and Xavier Thompson. May the foundation of their grandfather’s love and the Grace of God usher them into greatness.

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