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Thompson, Gartmann Hawkinson named distinguished alumni

Nancy Gartmann Hawkinson1 / 2
George Thompson2 / 2

The late George G. Thompson, Class of 1936, and Nancy Gartmann Hawkinson Class of 1957, are the 2012 Hudson High School Distinguished Alumni .

They will be inducted into the school's Wall of Fame at a ceremony and dinner next Wednesday, Sept. 12, as part of the homecoming week festivities.

George Grinde Thompson

Class of 1936

George Thompson grew up in Hudson, a childhood friend and classmate of native son and town historian, the late Willis Miller. It was Miller who first nominated Thompson for the alumni award.

According to Marty O'Connell, another longtime Hudson resident, it was always expected that Thompson would follow in the footsteps of his father, a circuit judge, and become a lawyer.

Thompson graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and earned a law degree from UW-Madison in 1947 following military service during World War II where he earned a Purple Heart. He practiced law for several years before being elected the district attorney of La Crosse County in 1955 and served until 1961.

Thompson went on to become Wisconsin's attorney general, serving from 1963-65.

Following his political career, Thompson was a law professor at Ohio Northern University in Ada, and Western New England College of Law in Springfield, Mass. He also received a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship from the U.S. Dept. of State to lecture at the University of Iceland law school in Reykjavik. Thompson was also admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was chosen one of the Outstanding Educators of America in 1972.

He died 1982 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Thompson was married to Dr. Marion Thompson who died in 2009 at the age of 88. She and Thompson were married in 1942. The couple had a daughter, Diane Flautt, and two sons, George and David Thompson.

Nancy Gartmann Hawkingson

Class of 1957

Nancy Gartmann Hawkinson has been a familiar face around Hudson all of her life, especially in the volunteer community.

She credits her maternal line for her commitment to Hudson and the surrounding community. Her grandmother emigrated from Norway at the age of seven in 1891 and attended Hudson schools where the family is now in their fifth generation.

Along with her career of more than 40 years in data processing and information technology support for State Farm Insurance, she dedicated many hours volunteering, indexing and preserving community history. In addition, she generously shared her organizational skills with others who are searching for their ancestral roots.

Hawkinson has four children who are all graduates of Hudson High School and a long history as a parent volunteer at Houlton Elementary School and with the Girl Scouts.

In retirement, Hawkinson continues to work on behalf of the community. As an original member of the local "History Room" committee, she has helped secure grants that have allowed for its advancement and continuation for future generations.

She is a charter member of the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society, serving as a board member and as editor of their "PIPOST" digest for 27 years.

More recently, Hawkinson was instrumental in publishing Willis Miller's Hudson Area Biographical Index as a searchable digital resource with more than 56,000 entries along with other indexes and research aids.

Hawkinson continues to donate her time to the St. Croix County Historical Society answering research questions and working on collection development. She is also active on the boards of several Norwegian groups for descendants of Norway.

The dinner and ceremony to honor Hawkinson and Thompson is open to the public. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15. Admission to the ceremony at 6:45 p.m. is free. For more information call HHS at (715) 377-3800.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604