Steve was born on February 10, 1947 as the first and only child of Al and Betty Thompson. As you might expect for the only child of two wonderful people, Steve was both adored and appropriately spoiled by his parents. As a kid, Steve fell in love with Roy Rogers and would often be seen sporting a big cowboy hat and two toy six-guns in deference to his childhood idol. From that point on, his dad would forever call him Roy.

Steve grew up in the best place and in the best time possible. He spent his high school years at Torrance’s South High where his outgoing and charismatic personality allowed him to make friends effortlessly. Everybody loved Steve and Steve loved everybody. That’s how it’s always been. It was during those years that surfing took off in California and Steve was totally into it! Every weekend and every day during the summer, he would meet, surf, and hang out with his buddies at Torrance Beach where the infamous parking lot became “the place” to hit when the surf was bad. It was in that lot that Steve loved to show off the actual record player he had installed in his ’57 Ford by endlessly blasting Elvis “45s” at full volume. It was fabulous.

Steve’s love of both surfing and Elvis never waned. His collection of surfing memorabilia was always on full display as were the tremendous number of Elvis collectibles that he had amassed. Anyone who has ever experienced the always-expanding Elvis Room and the Surfing Room at his Fields Landing pad will understand. But Steve’s excellent taste didn’t stop there. He developed quite a fondness for classic wristwatches and Cadillacs. His crowning automotive achievement was the completion of a lengthy, ground-up restoration of “Stephanie” – a beautiful 1957 Caddie that Steve loved and owned for too many years to count.

But if there was anything that Steve loved more than Elvis and surfing, it was having fun and partying. And he turned doing that into a fine art! His Fourth of July parties at his childhood home in So. Cal. were legendary. They were exceeded only by the twenty-five or so annual extravaganzas he hosted up north known as “The ‘Thon”. People routinely came from far and wide to attend those events, for which he was subsequently immortalized in print as “Big Jake”, the recognized and undisputed master of ceremonies.

At six-foot-five (or as Steve liked to say…five-foot-seventeen, or 4-foot-twenty-nine, depending) Steve was a big guy. But he was big in many ways. He could be boisterous, bold, and brash. Everyone always knew when Big Steve rolled in! “Rip it up!” Yet he was also gentle and bodacious (one of Steve’s favorite words) in compassion, generosity, and kindness to family and friends alike throughout his entire life.

Steve left us far too early. It doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem fair. But it does seem selfish to look at it that way. We were all blessed to have known Alfred Steven Thompson for the years that we did. Friendships like that are rare. We should remember and savor the time, the moments, that we shared with him, and robustly celebrate them. Because that’s for sure what Big Steve would want.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Steve Thompson’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.