The Board and staff of United Way Chatham-Kent are saddened by the passing of our long-time supporter and past Board President Wesley T. (Wes) Thompson on June 15, 2024.

Although possessed of an extraordinary force of personality and larger-than-life sense of humour, Wes was always in the background with a word of encouragement, a joke, and the right plan of action to rally support for much-needed initiatives in the community.

That generosity, warmth, great humour, incisive knowledge and wisdom, will be deeply missed. He injected us with confidence during some dark times. Wes and his faithful Betty were welcome guests in the dog-friendly offices at United Way – she paid rapt attention to the deliberations of every Board meeting she attended!

Our Board members, and former employees are sharing remembrances of Wes.

Chris Appleton – President, United Way Chatham-Kent Board of Directors

While I only knew Wes for a few years, his impact on me, through our involvement on the Chatham-Kent United Way Board of Directors, was immense.  Even in the most challenging predicaments, Wes displayed keen optimism and was often able to diffuse tense situations through his dry sense of humour, which would always bring a smile to your face!  With Wes leading the charge, you knew things would be okay.  There was always a path.

Team builder, bridge builder, integrity, commitment, leader….and of course, comic relief are but only a few of the characteristics that immediately come to mind when I think of Wes Thompson.

Thank you Wes for the great many works you have done for all of Chatham-Kent.  May your light continue to shine brightly for many years to come in the scores of people you have mentored and inspired.

Cheryl Gorman, Community Change Consultant

A kind, generous, deeply thoughtful, and wickedly funny man… I have such respect and admiration for Wes Thompson. He did so much for the community behind closed doors that he didn’t want anyone to know about. He created warm and welcoming places for community to gather. While he didn’t want to toot his own horn, he had no trouble singing the praises of others. He was a proud family man and Blenheim Boy. You will be deeply missed my friend. You are one of the “good people.”

Margery Muharrem, Former Donor Relations Associate, United Way Chatham-Kent Board Director & Campaign Co-Chair (2014-2015)

“Dean and I co-chairing the United Way campaign back in 2014-2015 provided us an opportunity to sit with Wes to chat about Blenheim and would he recommend someone who would represent that part of CK for our campaign cabinet. We said that if he could find someone committed to helping we would get him some fish and chips from the restaurant we ran at the time. He connected with Jason Heuvelmans and helped them immensely to fundraise an amount only surpassed by Chatham.

We will be forever grateful to Wes and his fun and incredible dedication to Chatham-Kent. Wes, when we next meet, the fish and chips are on us xx.

Tom Slager – former United Way Director of Donor Engagement & Communications 2018-2020

I met Wes through my work at United Way. We would not have crossed paths were it not for that. Anyone who got to know him knew that he was a collector. His collection of fire trucks, antique vehicles, and anything else that caught his eye was both eclectic and well-rounded.  But what I came to understand was that Wes was also a collector of people. He welcomed many to his picnic table in the shed. They came from all walks of life. He would mix and match them together, too. From there, he would build momentum for a community initiative, plot his next great hare-brained scheme, or just make great memories for himself and those who were blessed to join him.

Wes became a mentor of sorts for me. He was my confidant. He was someone I trusted enough to share the highs and lows of my life with. Mostly, he was a great friend to have. I’m better off for having known him.  And I will miss him greatly.

Please click here to read Wes’s obituary at McKinlay Funeral Home.