THE MAN WE CALLED MONGO
In Loving Memory of
(July 12, 1951 – June 6, 2013)
There is a long list of people who have contributed to Clinton County Civic Theatre’s success and longevity over the years, but without a doubt, the one person who belongs at the very top of that list, now and forever, is Jerry Thompson.
In the formative days of Clinton County Civic Theatre back in 1989, when the first set of officers was chosen, Jerry was elected CCCT’s first President. Little did he realize, he would also remain our only President for the next 24 years, fulfilling that role until his passing.
Affectionately known to everyone as “Mongo” (named after the horse-punching goon in one of his favorite movies, Blazing Saddles), Jerry had a wonderful enthusiasm for the theatre. In 1986 he appeared in Bus Stop, his first show at the Red Barn. The 1988 expansion of the Frankfort Public Library included the addition of a theatre, which provided the perfect location for a new community theatre. Jerry was heavily involved in early conversations with Martin Henderson and others about the creation of Civic. His dedication and vision were instrumental in getting the organization off the ground and pointed in the right direction.
While Jerry appeared onstage many times, both here and at the Barn, he usually had to be coerced or cajoled (possibly bribed) into acting. Never a fan of memorizing lines, he always preferred working behind the scenes instead, directing or building sets. When Civic needed a prop or a piece of wooden furniture, we could always count on Jerry to either find it, build it, or fix it.
He first tried his hand at directing with a production of one of his favorite plays, Arsenic and Old Lace, in 1991. Over the years he directed 23 shows here, more than any other CCCT director. He also designed and headed set construction for 63 of our first 72 sets.
Because of his association with Civic and the Red Barn, as well as the Jaycees, the Frankfort Moose Golf League, his 23 years as a Frankfort City Police Officer, his 14 years as the Head of Maintenance for the Frankfort Public Library, and more, Jerry was known by just about everyone in the entire community. And more importantly, he was much-loved: he was big in stature but even bigger in heart, a cheerful and supportive presence who radiated a child like joy about the things that he loved, including his family, friends, theatre, and of course, Mickey Mouse.
We could never say enough about Jerry’s contributions to Civic...his energy, dedication, leadership and guidance...but beyond that, it’s impossible to say enough about him as a person. He was our friend, our father, our mentor and our role model. And at every opening night cast party, when we raise our glasses for a toast, we will always know that he is smiling along with us as we say “Huzzah huzzah.”
Enjoy the show, Mongo!