Haynes Thompson Obit

Here is the obituary of Unipresser Haynes Thompson as it appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser on March 28, 2001, and reported by Unipresser Alvin Benn:


Images of foreign correspondents rushing to meet deadlines from one European capital to another have been depicted on movie screens by the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Joel McCrea. Montgomery's Haynes Thompson, who died Tuesday at the age of 85, didn't need a script.

He was the real thing.

Thompson took part in the Normandy invasion, tipped a few with Ernest Hemingway, worked with Walter Cronkite and got the scoop as a United Press correspondent about the Frank Sinatra-Ava Gardner breakup as a result of her affair with a Spanish bullfighter.

"Haynes was a bona fide foreign correspondent," said his friend, Starr Smith of Montgomery. "He wore a snap brim hat and a trenchcoat. He was an outstanding writer."

Thompson left the glamorous life of a wire service reporter in postwar Europe to return home to Montgomery to work in the family fertilizer business.

"Haynes was a dashing bachelor when I first met him," his wife, Eva, said Tuesday. "He loved human interest stories and his friends. He was a true gentleman."

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. today at Greenwood Cemetery, the Rev. Claude McRoberts III officiating, Brooks-Cargile Funeral Home directing.

Eva Thompson said one of the most memorable moments of their 50 year marriage was five days after they exchanged vows and were on their honeymoon in Spain.

"Haynes came into the room carrying a bottle of bourbon and told me that Frank Sinatra was downstairs," she said. "He said he wanted me to meet him. I told him I was exhausted and I wasn't getting out of bed for anybody, including Frank Sinatra."

Eva Sodergren said she met Thompson while he was on assignment for UP in Sweden where she lived. The best man at their wedding was Charles Wertenbaker, chief European correspondent for Time magazine.

A native of Union springs, Thompson grew up in Montgomery and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School. He got two degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama, where he edited the campus newspaper, Crimson White.

During World War II, he was a lieutenant with the Army Air Corps and worked with war correspondents during the Normandy invasion.

Discharged as a major, Thompson began his career with United Press and renewed his friendship with Cronkite, Charles Collingwood and other celebrated wire service reporters.

During Thompson's final hours, his wife said she sat by his bedside and leafed through books which detailed events that he had covered as a reporter. She said he was known in Europe as "Tommy."

In addition to his wife, other survivors include two daughters, Kristina White and Meta Thompson Fail and two granddaughters.