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Jim Thompson, Oldest Living Husky Letterman, Has Apple Cup Wish

He's 98 with a yearning to see the Cougars and Huskies go at it once more. He played for both schools.

It is Jim Thompson's wish to attend next month's Apple Cup at Husky Stadium as sort of a last hurrah. 

The game falls on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Kickoff time to be determined.

Nick Rolovich, of course, had the same desire to be there that afternoon, but that's a whole different story now. 

This one should have a much happier ending.

University of Washington athletic director Jen Cohen plans to accommodate Thompson's request, though WSU easily could have made this happen, as well.

This man played for both schools.

At 98, Thompson is the Huskies' oldest-living football letterman, having earned a big W in 1946 while pulling snaps as a running back, quarterback and punter for a 5-4 team coached by Ralph "Pest" Welch. 

A noted character, he joked to his son, also Jim Thompson, that if he could take in just one more Apple Cup, he would be ready for whatever life had in store for him. 

"If I've got to die somewhere, I want to come to the Apple Cup and at halftime, I'm done,"  the elder Thompson said mischievously. "I can watch the first half and then I'm good. It's over."

However, he's under no obligation to uphold that part of the bargain. He's lived quite a life so far and there no reason to accelerate the final quarter. The gun will go off when it's time, and not before. 

Jim Thompson played for both UW and WSU.

Jim Thompson lettered for WSU in 1942.

Thompson and his teammates finished 5-4 that one season he played for the UW, beating the Cougars 21-7 in Pullman in their rivalry game that wouldn't carry an apple label for another 16 seasons.

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In 1942, Thompson also lettered for Washington State, taking turns in the backfield for an adventurous Cougars team that beat Michigan State 25-13 in Spokane, lost to Texas A&M 21-0 in San Antonio and tied the UW 0-0 at Husky Stadium while compiling a 6-2-2 record.

Known as Jimmy back then, he played for Babe Hollingbery's 17th and final WSU team as the fighting accelerated overseas. 

Jim Thompson (19) played running back at WSU.

Jim Thompson (19) was a Cougar running back. 

Between college stints at the two state universities, he went to war, serving in the South Pacific in the 315th bomber division for famed General Curtis Lemay during World War II. 

After graduating from school, Thompson had a successful professional life, selling life insurance, setting up pensions, selling yachts and boats and building a Lake Union marina.

Jim Thompson served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

Jim Thompson served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

Along the way, he proudly got to watch his son Jim play football at a high level for Roosevelt High School, his alma mater. The younger Thompson was a tall, left-handed quarterback who garnered a lot of attention.

As a junior, this second-generation Thompson earned first-team All-Metro honors and was one of the first passing-minded quarterbacks in the city. He later played for Santa Rosa Junior College, creating a path that future NFL QB Hugh Millen would follow, likewise going from Roosevelt to Santa Rosa.

Unlike his dad, and Millen, Thompson lost interest in football, and in pursuing the Huskies or another then-Pac-8 school, and he focused on getting his own career going.

Besides, his dad played more than enough college football for both of them.

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