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David J. Thomson, Falls teacher March 25, 1938 -- Jan. 11, 2006

LEWISTON -- David J. Thomson, who taught fifth and sixth grades in the Niagara Falls School District and was an active camper, died Wednesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 67.

Mr. Thomson was born in Niagara Falls and was a graduate of Niagara Falls High School, where he was a basketball player and track star.

He married Patricia Landes in 1957, and together they earned bachelor's degrees in elementary education from Buffalo State College. He later earned his master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Mr. Thomson began teaching in the Niagara-Wheatfield School District at Nevada Avenue Elementary School, Town of Niagara. He taught for 30 years in the Niagara Falls School District, beginning in kindergarten and then teaching the fifth and sixth grades at Hyde Park, Harry F. Abate and Henry J. Kalfas elementary schools, retiring from LaSalle Middle School in 1993.

As a teacher, Mr. Thomson accompanied students on their annual class camping trip. He also enjoyed traveling the United States, Canada and Mexico, camping out in tents, tent trailers and motor homes.

He and his wife served as field directors and international affairs directors for the National Campers and Hikers Association.

Mr. Thomson also served as chairman of the National Parks and Golden Eagle Study and Action Committee. Through this organization, he and his wife created the Golden Age Pass for the National Park System. He also spearheaded the National Park Junior Ranger Program for children.

In addition to his wife of 48 years, survivors include two daughters, Dianne Fleck of Youngstown and Shari Hubbert of Ithaca; a son, David J. II of Niagara Falls; a sister, Doris Tyler of Edgewater, Fla.; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Honey's Restaurant, 2002 Military Road, Town of Niagara.


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