James Karl Thompson “Jim”


Giggle On is dedicated to my friend Jim Thompson.

Jim had his share of troubles but he also loved to be silly. He had an infectious smile and he enjoyed making his friends laugh. He often offered support to his friends when we were feeling down.

In my post One Life Lost, One Life Saved, I talked about how  Jim’s passing was a wake up call for me. His death actually saved my life. I was once suicidal too.

In March 2009, the News Journal of Delaware featured an article about me and my friendship with Jim and how I made use of my grief after his death. To read the article click my story (pdf version takes a few moments to load, be patient) and if you are interested, check out the responses I received from around the globe.

This site is a reflection of what Jim tried to accomplish while he was alive – that is – spreading love, laughter and happiness to everyone he met. This site honors his memory, life and our friendship.

I would like to thank Brother Ronald Giannone of Sacred Heart Oratory for blessing Jim’s home after his death. In the Spirit of St. Francis, please accept my deepest thanks!

Jim’s obituary is below. It reflects but a small portion of his life but in these words (written by his closest friends, myself included) we tried to honor him. I miss you buddy!

James Karl Thompson “Jim”

Age 35 of Wilmington, DE left this world to be with his Maker on Friday, October 7, 2005.

Born in Ohio, he moved with his family to New Jersey where he lived until 1995.

He came to Wilmington and made many friends while staying at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.  He trained as an iron worker and worked out of the Iron Workers Local # 451 until his sudden death.

Jim purchased a 100-year old shell of a house in 2002, and spent much of his free time renovating it.  He was passionate about maintaining the historical and architectural integrity, and did most of the work himself – including removing doorways, relocating the bath, upgrading electricity, installing molding and drywall, designing the kitchen, laying bricks and tile, and building a deck.  Jim was in the process of painting the exterior five different colors.  He participated in the Trinity Vicinity House Tour in September where his multitude of skills won much praise.


Jim could fix anything and would help anybody, stopping work on his own projects to repair theirs.  He helped neighbors with broken pipes, leaking roofs, falling drywall and dead car batteries.  He installed appliances, hauled the old ones away, repaired broken doors and ran electrical wired for his friends.  But all this does not compare to how he made people feel when he was around.  His quick smile and friendliness made people feel important and appreciated. While gladly giving of himself, Jim never asked for anything in return.  He was a gentleman, and a wonderful friend.  He is greatly missed.

In addition to the many friends, Jim also leaves, his father James E. Thompson of Michigan; his mother Pauline Thompson of Cleveland, Ohio; and his sister, Jane Zmarzly and two nieces, Casey and Haley, and two nephews, Samuel and Tucker of Conneaut, Ohio.

Friends may call on the family Friday, October 14 at 1:00 PM at Doherty’s Funeral Home, 1900 Delaware Avenue.  A celebration of Jim’s life will begin at 2:00 PM.  Friends are encouraged to share their memories and photos of Jim with his family and other friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center at 107 South Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801.



I miss you buddy!

Related posts:

Happy Birthday Dude

Grieve, Give, Giggle


  1. People should be remembered, not by how they died, but by how they lived…and Jim seems to have left many beautiful memories behind. May he rest in peace.

  2. Yes Jackie, I agree 150%. Jim was a great guy, as I am sure your brother was too.

    Cheers to the good times, the happy memories, the silliness, the laughter and the long talks.

    Until we meet our loved ones again…CHEERS and GIGGLE ON!

  3. AMEN, girls!
    Jackie, you are SO RIGHT!
    Christa, I love these shots you posted. Surely, Jim is loving them, too.
    I’m sorry I never knew him, or Jackie’s brother, and I wish you had known Vinny.
    I like to imagine our lost loved ones hanging out together in some paradise (Heaven), and absolutely having a blast (finally) in that realm of peace.

    CHEERS to you both, and CHEERS to our beloveds. Giggle ON!!!

  4. Hi Christa, I was so sorry to read of Jim’s passing in Sunday’s paper.

    This is going to sound strange, but I knew Jim, only problem is, I can’t remember where from.

    As soon as I saw his picture in the paper, I knew who he was and can recall conversations that we had. I got married in 2004 and lost touch with a lot of people that I used to hang out with/talk to. Did Jim ever work and/or hang out at the Bank Shots on Union Street? Because that is where I feel I remember him from.

    Again, I am very sorry to learn of his passing.

    He did have an infectious smile and when I looked at his profile on your website, there was one picture of him that he’s giving this look and I’ve seen that look before. I had been given that look! It’s kinda the smirky smile look.

    God Bless you and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Lisa Fawcett

  5. Thank you very much for sharing this. I never knew Jim,yet I still felt touched by reading this. I wish I had known him.

  6. Christa, Thank you for sharing your story of Jim. And an even BIGGER SMILE and GIGGLE for the continued work you do to help others survive depression and mental illness. E-Racing the Blues Walk is a huge contribution on your part and I know that Jim will be walking with ya.

    Best wishes for a successful event in October. I hope the Laughter Yoga Community comes out to support your important message!
    Carmela Carlyle, M.A. RYT.
    Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher
    San Francisco Bay Area
    .-= Carmela Carlyle´s last blog ..Newsletter – September 2009 =-.

  7. Christa…. I knew Jimi almost my whole life… He was my best friend. I think of him everyday and i miss him sooooo much.
    He was an amazing person and my 1st love. His sister told me about this site and It was perfect. It was nice seeing new pics of him. I took the one of him sitting in the green chair. That was my house. I bet he is smiling over this… I just wanted to thank you for doing this. I got the call from his father while I was on vacation… As soon as I heard his dads voice … I knew what he did… I lost a piece of me that day.
    He did have a gift of making people feel liked/love. He always looked a person in the eyes and I loved when he winked at people… It made everyone smile. I miss him everyday. His birthday is next week and It just makes me sad he’s not here. Thank for getting this site up and I love and miss you Jimi.

    • @A’me – nice to meet you. I’m glad Jane sent you my way. I’m thrilled to learn more about Jim from one of his oldest friends. Since he passed I always do something special for his birthday. In May 2006 I went to Ireland in honor of Jim. He always wanted to go but never had the opportunity. I always ribbed Jim about his tattoos and swore I would NEVER get one. Well, after his death I learned Never Say Never so I got a Celtic Trinity knot tattoo in Dublin in his honor. I miss him a lot…but I also know he’s around watching out for me. You mentioned getting the call from Jim’s dad. I had the task of calling people in his little black book after he died. I called people I knew, people I didn’t and told them he was dead. Losing him like this was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. At this point, I owe my very life to Jim. I was on the same path and was very close to ending it all too. Love to chat with you more, privately, if you’re game. Peace.

      @Annie – your words are so perfect, so eloquent. Thank you for your friendship, support and understanding. I miss Jim Thompson a lot but I do keep his memory alive. I carry his heart in my heart. Love you!

  8. Oh, my…it’s amazing how one person can touch people so deeply within such a brief span of time. A’me, clearly Jim left a beautiful and deep imprint on your life, as well as my friend, Christa’s. It is a tragedy that such a powerful soul would be taken from all of you so prematurely. But the thing that rings very clearly to observers like me is that his “purpose” in life was to touch people deeply and inspire them to enjoy life. How ironic. I don’t know you at all, but I know my friend, Christa. I see her tears when she remembers or speaks about Jim. My heart breaks for that sadness, but I know in my heart that Jim is very much still a part of all of your hearts and minds. He is with you all…and THAT is a beautiful thing. It’s cool that you found Christa’s site – because I know that Jim inspired her to create it and maintain it…which is no small undertaking. It is a labor of great love…for everyone…just like the love that it seems Jim had for his good friends. I hope that your sadness is replaced by some comfort in knowing that he’s still smiling and winking at you all, no matter where you are. I wish you all peace.

  9. Christa…. Would love to chat. It’s nice to meet you girls. Thanks Annie for your words. This and the death of my sister Dawn(last August..she was 41. Died of a heart attack. I talked to her the very day she died) I talked to Jimi the day before he died) is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through…

    Christa… I might have gotten that call from you. My real name is Amanda… Everyone calls me A’me. Jimi called me “BUBBA” He always did. Not sure why,but he started calling me Amanda after seeing me in a little black dress one wked when he came to visit me & we went to Put-n-Bay. He was my best friend & we shared a brother/sister kind of relationship…. we were getting ready to go out and when I came out with that dress on… He said to me…”Where do you think you’re going dressed like that?” I never laughed sooooooo hard. It was one of many great moments Jimi & I shared….

    I understand what you feel Christa. I miss him everyday. I do something every year on his birthday. There is a pic of Jimi and me in my son’s baby book. He would have been Uncle Jimi to my boy Kasey… Just started crying typing this….

    Im very thankful Jane sent me this way…. It’s nice to have people I can share my Jimi stories with. Thank you

  10. Hi Jim, Christa here. I know we still talk all the time but I wanted to publicly say “Happy New Year” to you. As you know, your photo was on my mantle at Christmas (you were right next to Rudolph and that irreverent Snowman card sent by my sister). I remember how much you loved Christmas. Instead of being stressed out this year, I tapped into the Jimmy and really enjoyed myself. I just wanted to thank you for that. I miss you still and wish you could have been here live and in person…but hell, what girl wouldn’t want a special angel by her side like you? I still carry your heart with me in my heart and LOVE YOU for keeping watch over me. Be on the lookout! I will be doing more great things this year and I know you’ll be by my side Giggling On in spirit. Love always, your friend, Christa

    • hey Christa,
      Jimmy was my cousin and like a fourth brother to me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him…i just happened upon your site as I was thinking about him and googled his name…Jimmy was probably on of the most talented people I ever knew…he seemed to be able to do any thing he tried…as we got older I didn’t see him as much as when we were growing up, but he would come into town (usually unannounced) and we would pick up right where we left off…from reading some of the other posts I see he touched a lot people’s lives and left a lot of great memories…
      Mike Fink

  11. Jim Thompson was my first cousin. I never met him. His grandfather, my uncle, James E. Thompson, left the family home in Boston, MA, in the late 1920’s and was never heard from again. A couple of years ago, I tracked down his granddaughter, Jim’s sister.
    Today, I was in Wilmington on business and stopped by Jim’s bench in Brandywine Park. In one of Jim’s sister’s emails to me, she told me I would have liked her brother. I know I would have.

  12. James Griffin – thank you for reaching out. I am sorry you never got the chance to meet Jim. He was an amazing guy, extremely intelligent (read physics books for fun), talented and funny. I think it’s unbelievable you were able to track this post down, more incredible you stopped by Jim’s bench today. Jim’s bench is less about 1/2 mile from my home. Are you still in Wilmington by chance?

Leave a Reply