Local business owner, wife leave $2.3 million to Kosair Children's Hospital

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Local business owner Howard W. "Tommy" Thompson and his wife, Margaret L. "Peggy" Thompson, of Louisville have left a $2.3 million gift to Kosair Children's Hospital to support the area of greatest need.

"The Thompsons were very conservative people with a desire to help advance the mission of the hospital," said Frank X. Clements, CPA, Mulligan, Hill, Clements & Co. PSC. "They were fortunate enough to be able to leave this legacy and help children in our community for years to come."

A long-time volunteer at the Kosair Children's Hospital gift shop, Peggy had a soft spot in her heart for children with medical needs. She had a connection to the medical world, having served as a nurse on a naval ship in World War II.

"She was a delightful person," Clements said. "She led a very active life and was an avid bridge player until her death in 2005 from a heart attack."

Tommy was president of the family-run Thompson-Kissel Co. Inc., a Butchertown company founded by his father in 1935 that provided commercial air conditioning and refrigeration services. He ran the business until he sold it in 1992.

Outside of the family business, Tommy's passion was auto racing. He made a mark racing on the NASCAR circuit, first on the sands of Daytona Beach in 1950 and then winning the Motor City (Michigan) 250 on Aug. 12, 1951. In 1958, he helped build Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in Louisville, introducing Figure 8 racing to this area. He also was a long-time member of the Masonic Lodge 456, Kosair Shrine Temple. He died in 1996.

The gift to Kosair Children's Hospital includes funds bequeathed by the Thompsons' daughter, Charlotte S. Thompson, who lost a battle with lung cancer in July 2010.

"The generosity of the Thompsons will create a future for so many children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana," said Lynnie Meyer, MSN, R.N., executive director, Children's Hospital Foundation. "Kosair Children's Hospital treats more than 116,000 children every year, and the support of people like the Thompsons helps the Children's Hospital Foundation ensure that we have a top tier hospital to serve these children's needs."