The Rev. Alfred C. Thompson, whose first assignment as a minister was at the East Hampton Methodist Church and who was the senior chaplain for the New York Fire Department on Sept. 11, 2001, died at the Colonial Poplin Nursing Home in Freemont, N.H., on June 25 at the age of 87. His son Alfred C. Thompson II said his father stayed at the site of the Twin Towers, sleeping in a truck, “and didn’t come home for six weeks until he was hospitalized with pneumonia.” He continued to have lung problems for the rest of his life.
“He spent a lot of time with the families of victims and preparing all the volunteer chaplains that came in to help. Between having 30 years with the Fire Department, his Navy experience, and after burying two wives, he knew a lot about consolation,” Mr. Thompson said.
He was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn on April 30, 1925, the son of Hans Thompson and the former Clara Nielsen. He went to the Brooklyn high school Erasmus Hall and graduated from Taylor University in Indiana after spending three years in the Navy. He had enlisted, serving on landing craft in the Pacific during the invasion of 12 islands during World War II.
After graduating from college, Mr. Thompson studied business and worked for three years as head teller and job analyst at the Bank of Manhattan in New York. He subsequently earned a divinity degree at the New York Theological Seminary. After he was ordained, he joined the naval reserves and served as a chaplain for 25 years before retiring with the rank of captain.
His son said his father always thought of East Hampton as home. He was a member of the East Hampton Fire Department during his time here, from 1953 to 1958, and belonged to the Parent Teachers Organization, the Community Council, and the Hamptons Chapter of the Society for the Preservation of Barbershop Singing in America. He bought a lot on Barns Lane in East Hampton Village, planning to return here for vacations.
In addition to East Hampton, Mr. Thompson led congregations at the Goodsell Memorial Methodist Church and Vanderveer Park Church, both in Brooklyn, the Yorktown Heights (N.Y.) Methodist Church, and the Methodist Church in Fairfield, Conn. He was a former national chaplain of the America Legion.
Mr. Thompson’s first wife, the former Louise Penner, the mother of his four children, died before him, as did his second wife, the former Sheila Robbins, who was also an ordained minister. A brother, the Rev. Garfield Thompson, also died before him.
Mr. Thompson’s children survive. They are Keith Thompson of McKinney, Tex., Carolyn Thompson of Freeport, Grand Bahamas, Erik Thompson of Bullville, N.Y., and Alfred Thompson II of Danville, N.H. Ten grandchildren and a sister, Evelyn Naevestad of Speculator, N.Y., survive, as do his stepsons, Leonard Robbins of Oro Valley, Ariz., and Eric Robbins of Tucson.
A funeral service will take place at the East Hampton Methodist Church on Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. The family has noted that condolences can be placed on the Web site of the Douglas and Johnson Funeral Home in Salem, N.H.