ROANOKE, VA(WFXR) — A somber season for the Blue and Gold of Colonel Nation — as they prepare to say goodbye to a familiar face. Ed Thompson — known to many as Mister William Fleming – passed away on March 30th at the age of 83. But before he served the students there — he served our nation as a soldier in the U.S. Army.

“My gracious I call him Mister William Fleming. He meant so much to William Fleming athletics. He was a supporter from beginning to the end. There was no person like Ed Thompson. He would do anything and everything to help those student athletes at William Fleming High School. That was so important for us,” said William Fleming head boys basketball coach Mickey Hardy.

Before Ed Thompson spent 26 years on working hard for William Fleming athletics, he spent 6 years serving his country in the U.S. Army in the the 1960’s….he then worked 31 years for the City of Salem before retiring…but Coach Ed was know for his dedication for the William Fleming Colonels athletic teams…since 1997 it was his calling to do anything and everything for the colonels…..this past season former Fleming head football coach Jamar Lovelace nominated Thompson as a Friday Night Blitz Unsung Hero……..Colonels head boys basketball coach Mickey Hardy shared one of the reasons why he was Fleming’s unsung hero.

“Ed liked to carry everything. He didn’t like for anyone to take anything from him. I am saying to myself, Ed can’t carry all of this stuff. So Ed said coach I have to go back to the locker room to get something. So when he went back into the locker room, I snuck down the hall to pick up to a couple of bags and put it on the bus. Ed got on the bus, he was livid, who go those bags. Where is my bags at. I said Coach Ed I got them. Coach you know I am supposed to take those bags, I said Ed I go them this time. Well just this time I will take those bags Coach. You go them next time Coach,” said Hardy.

Right now the William Fleming Colonels football team they played their home football games on campus on Ferncliff Avenue on an artificial turf surface. Many moons ago the William Fleming Colonels played their home football games at the old Victory Stadium and that was a grass, muddy dirt field, let me tell you something for Coach Ed Thompson the challenge was on to get the uniforms clean and looking practically brand new. Just one of the challenges that Coach Ed Thompson didn’t mind doing. It was one of the special stories you heard about Coach Ed.

“The only thing I did know about the fact was that he loved and cared about William Fleming athletics and if you had a picture or a board somewhere it should be of Ed Thompson. Mister William Fleming,” said Hardy.

A military graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 13, 2023, at the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery, 5550 Bagging Plant Road, Dublin, VA.