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Harold 'Bud' Thompson, Navy vet, dies at 88

Harold "Bud" Thompson, a Navy veteran who participated in D-Day during World War II, died May 23.

Thompson, 88, died of complications from peritonitis and sepsis at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. He lived in Aquebogue for 20 years, until his home was destroyed during superstorm Sandy. After that, he lived with several of his children.

Thompson, born in Manhattan, graduated as president of his class from Brooklyn's Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in 1943.

Before he graduated, he enlisted in the Navy. During the D-Day invasion at Normandy, he helped to clear a path so boats could land on the beaches. Thompson earned the American Theatre Ribbon and Medal, the European-African Theatre Medal with one Battle Star and the World War II Victory Medal while attaining the rank of gunner's mate third class. He was honorably discharged in November 1945, his family said.

During the war, Thompson married Virginia Carroll. They had 10 children and lived in Queens and on Long Island. Thompson shared many of his wartime experiences with his family.

His son Christopher said one of his father's most memorable stories was about Christmas Eve 1944. The Léopoldville, a troop ship carrying about 700 Army soldiers, was torpedoed in the English Channel, and Thompson was sent to help with the rescue. His father told his family all that was visible in the dark, cold waters were a sea of one-cell safety lights attached to the dead soldiers' soaked life vests.

After the war, Thompson worked for Burns Bros. Coal & Oil Co. in Brooklyn for seven years and was the president of Thompson's Restaurant Corp. in Levittown after that for 17 years. He worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. in Patchogue from 1969 until he retired in 1988. He earned a chartered life underwriter degree from Hofstra University in 1983. After retiring, he was involved with several organizations, including the Ancient Order of Hibernians of America. He was named the Suffolk County Hibernian of the Year in 2010.

Thompson is survived by two younger sisters, Mary Hilty and Anna Sager, both of Florida, and 10 children -- Michael of Patchogue, Harold of Lloyd Neck, Maureen Mulroy of Canandaigua, Virginia Meyenberg of Ocala, Fla., Joseph of Atlanta, Anne El-Raheb of Tulsa, Okla., Thomas of East Moriches, James of Dix Hills, Mary O'Hanlon of Miller Place and Christopher of West Islip.

His wife died in 1999. A wake is Sunday, 7-9 p.m., and Monday, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., at the Robertaccio Funeral Home in Patchogue. A funeral Mass will be Tuesday, 10 a.m., at St. Francis de Sales Church in Patchogue, followed by the burial at Calverton National Cemetery.

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