23 October 2023

For Queanbeyan Tigers fan and popular son, a final roar on home ground

| Sally Hopman
Start the conversation
Man with arms stretched out

Mark Thompson embraces the beauty of Kakadu National Park in 2010 when he took the family on a trip up to the Northern Territory. Photo: Linda Thompson.

It says much about the life and times of Mark Thompson that, first, his funeral was held at the home of his beloved Queanbeyan Tigers and second, that the robust crowd of family and friends spontaneously formed a guard of honour as he left the Margaret Donoghue Oval for the final time.

Proudly Queanbeyan born and bred, the husband, father, businessman and football fan died on 2 October. He was 58.

Tributes were paid to all five threads of his life at the funeral on 9 October, his wife Linda said.

Brother Michael spoke about his early family life, football chairperson of the Queanbeyan Tigers, Ron ‘Chook’ Fowlie on his passion for the game, Dimitri Nikias on his professional life in the real estate industry, early memories of his lifelong friend Peter Newham and married life from his wife, Linda.

READ ALSO Queanbeyan fundraiser to help find next Indigenous Matildas

Mrs Thompson described her husband as “courageous” and “the love of my life”.

She said their story started when Mark started throwing Minties at her during a Canberra Cannons game at the AIS in 1987. The couple were to fall in love, marry, and go on to raise their two children, Andrea and Riley, and work together in the real estate industry.

“He was dearly loved,” Mrs Thompson said. “His compassion, morality and championing of staff changed the lives of many.”

But the happy life was suddenly interrupted.

“He was sick. Really, really sick. Stage 4 cancer was not on our radar. Mark’s family had no history of prostate cancer and are a long-lived group.”

The first estimates were for a life span of five years. She said her husband applied his “trademark grit and determination to the shattering news”, but the cancer was “very aggressive and unrelenting, and we lost our beautiful man three years and two months after diagnosis”.

Michael Thompson told the service he and his “little brother” were very close, spending their younger days playing every form of backyard cricket known to kids.

“We played on the lawn, against a wall, on a table, on a floor,” he said.

“We played one-dayers and test match series where we dutifully recorded every ball in a scorebook. We put holes in the fibro garage, holes in doors, holes in windows, and divots in the lawn and made the new aluminium siding Dad put on the house look like a hailstorm had hit it.

“We certainly did some damage, but, oh boy, did we have fun.”

READ ALSO Queanbeyan boxer Monique Suraci preparing for the most important competition in her career so far

Delivering a eulogy at Mr Thompson’s funeral could not have been more personal for Ron ‘Chook’ Fowlie of the Queanbeyan Tigers.

Mr Fowlie said it was particularly “overwhelming because Mr Thompson had called him recently, asking him to do it.

“It was a very emotional phone call and when the conversation ceased, I thought how brave Thommo is to be able to, firstly, ring advising he didn’t have long to go and secondly, having the composure to ask me to speak on his behalf.

“Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for his enormous contribution to our organisation,” he said.

“He served 23 years as the Football Club secretary – the longest term ever by any individual in our 99-year history, and in doing so, is regarded as being one of the most respected administrators of all time.

“I said to him just after he was inducted into the Tigers’ Wall of Fame in 2020, which recognised his enormous contribution – what a magnificent effort – you must have had so much patience, grit and genuine love for the club.

“He replied, ‘Well, it wasn’t bloody easy, Chook, let me tell you’.”

Man with two women and young man

Family man Mark Thompson with his daughter Andrea, wife Linda, and son Riley at Andrea’s 21st birthday in 2019. Photo: Supplied.

Long-time colleague in the real estate industry and friend of 33 years Dimitri Nikias said Mr Thompson’s death was “a huge loss to the industry but a much bigger loss to all our lives”.

He paid tribute to his friend as a great businessman – a man passionate about making lists – but also a man who loved to cut loose on Friday afternoons – including competing to see who could land the most peanuts in a colleague’s mouth and who could score a goal over the heads of colleagues with the office footy.

Peter Newham, who met Mr Thompson when the two were born just days apart at Queanbeyan Hospital, recalled happy times growing up together.

“We have lost one of the nicest people you would ever have the pleasure to meet – I was lucky to spend the best part of 58 years being his friend.”

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.