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Former Justice Thompson dies

W. Carrington Thompson, a former delegate, senator, circuit judge and justice of the Supreme court of Virginia, died Saturday at his home in Chatham. He was 95.

Justice Thompson was appointed to the court in 1980 at age 64. He resigned three years later citing personal reasons. He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch when he resigned that service on the court was like being “in the College of Cardinals or a monastery. … Primarily, you’re withdrawn  from the public and a large majority of the practicing bar.”

A native of Chatham, he graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1938.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. Assignments included patrolling the Eastern Shore and time in the Pacific theater.

Justice Thompson worked as an assistant attorney general before and after his military service and served as Pittsylvania commonwealth’s attorney from 1948 to 1955.

He represented Danville and Pittsylvania County in the House of Delegates from 1960 to 1966 and in the Senate from 1968 to 1972.

Justice Thompson was elected to the 22nd Judicial Circuit in 1973 and heard cases in Danville and Franklin and  Pittsylvania counties until he was elected to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Alex M. Harman.

He was succeeded by Justice John Charles Thomas.

Justice Thompson was the fourth current or former member of the court to die within less than five months. Retired Justice George M. Cochran died in January, Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr. in February and Roscoe B. Stephenson Jr. in May.

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