Robert Thompson

Robert L. “Bob” Thompson passed away on Oct. 13, at the Green Hills Health Care Center in Ames after an illness of several months.
Robert was born on Nov. 7, 1950, the son of Lowell and Muriel Thompson of Grand Junction. He was raised on farms around the Grand Junction area and attended East Greene Community School where he graduated in 1969. A high achiever scholastically, Robert was a member of the National Honor Society. It was in high school that he earned the nickname “Omar,” which stuck for life among his closest friends and family.

He attended Iowa State University in Ames, majoring in agricultural economics, obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973. He continued his graduate studies at ISU in the fields of ag economics and rural sociology, obtaining many hours toward his Master’s Degree.

He went to work at the Iowa Energy Policy Council in Des Moines. In 1987, he began his life’s work as a program evaluator/deputy director with the Governor’s Traffic  Safety Bureau in Des Moines, a position he held for 23 years. He was responsible for statewide highway safety data systems and was co-chair and co-founder of the statewide traffic records coordinating committee.

He was a member or leader of several National Highway Traffic Safety Administration program assessments, which afforded him travel throughout the United States, where he made friends and met colleagues from many different agencies. He also did consulting on traffic safety issues for many out-of-state clients.  

Robert received many honors and commendations for his work in traffic safety. He received the Hammer Award for Reinventing Government from then Vice President Al Gore for development of an electronic data capture system. He received the National Award of Achievement in Highway Safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in July 2010, the only recipient of the award to date.  

In 1973, Robert began dating the love of his life, Susan Aitken of Boone. The couple was married at the Thompson family farm on Feb. 18, 1978 the ceremony was officiated by Susan’s father Reverend Robert Aitken. To this union, two children were born, a son, Ryan, in 1984, and a daughter, Robin, in 1992. The couple made their home in Ames and the greater Story County area throughout their adult lives together.

Robert was a very passionate, engaging and opinionated fellow, with a great mind for numbers and statistics. He could easily calculate a large grocery bill in his head, prior to it being rung up on the cash register.

He had many hobbies and interests, including an appreciation of all types of music and literature. He enjoyed vintage automobiles and antique tractors. He was an avid fan of the Iowa State Cyclones, Iowa Hawkeyes and all the Chicago professional sports teams, especially the Cubs.

He dearly loved trips to area parks and the rural countryside with his wife and family. He particularly liked antique hunting and finding a treasured piece of furniture with an interesting history, for a good value. He had an extensive collection of antique pocket watches and clocks.

He was a great family man and a jovial conversationalist on nearly any subject. He loved the time he was able to spend with his wife and children, and his other family members and friends.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife  Susan, son Ryan and daughter Robin, all of Ames, his sister Linda Thompson and special friend Dennis Hobbs of Urbandale, and brother Kent Thompson and wife Dodie of Humboldt. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, John Aitken of Manchester, England. He was preceded in death by his parents and his father and mother-in-law.

The world is a better and a safer place because of his life.

Memorial services for Robert L. “Bob” Thompson was held on Oct. 20, at 2:00 p.m., at Stevens Memorial Chapel, 607 28th St., Ames. There was a visitation at Stevens Memorial Chapel from noon to 2:00 p.m., the day of the service.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the family to be used for the purchase of a memorial at a later date.

Online condolences and thoughtful memories may be expressed on Robert’s page at

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161