Gulfport’s annual Arbor Day celebration honored former resident “Uncle Roy” Thompson on Friday, January 20 with speeches, a sing-along and the planting of an American sweetgum tree named in his honor.
Thompson was born in Gulfport, enjoyed fishing and hunting near the bayou, and while serving in the Navy, he boxed.
He was a combination of “Gentle Ben, Daniel Boone and Mike Tyson all in one guy,” said Mayor Emeritus Michael J. Yakes. “I just admired him so much.”
As part of a city contest years ago, Thompson named Veteran’s Park where the event took place, said Councilmember Christine Brown. Brown arranged for the city to plant a tree in his honor at the event. Thompson is related to Brown’s husband, Lou Worthington, as his biological uncle.
Members of Gulfport’s Food Forest, Community Garden and Teen Council groups were present to provide tree and bush seedlings along with refreshments.