An accident, appropriately enough, sparked Michael Thompson's interest in becoming a paramedic.
The Santa Rosa man was hiking the back country with a friends decades ago when a boy who was with the group fell and suffered a head injury. Nobody knew how to treat the bleeding wound, so the men scooped the boy up and carried him several hours to safety.
Thompson resolved afterward to take a class in emergency medicine. He went on to become a paramedic, including most recently with the Sonoma Fire Department.
Thompson died July 17 at the Santa Rosa home he shared with his longtime partner, June Hargis. Thompson, who had type-2 diabetes, may have suffered a heart attack.
He was 64.
Thompson, a third-generation Petaluman, was born on March 7, 1949. After graduating from Petaluma High School, he took a few classes at Santa Rosa Junior College before stumbling on his chosen career path.
Hargis said she met Thompson in 1992 through his sister, a real estate agent who helped Hargis find a home in Santa Rosa. She said she and Thompson had much in common, including the fact they had each been married before.
She said Thompson displayed empathy and a caring attitude, attributes she said "spoke to my heart." After they began dating, one of their first excursions was a drive to redwood country.
"It was night, and raining. He tried showing me the tops of the trees by shining a flashlight beam up there. He loved the rain. He loved the snow. And he loved a challenge when he was driving," Hargis said.
Thompson was no adrenaline junkie, however. Hargis said he had a childlike love for driving ambulances.