The “Old Bio” of Ray Mack Thompson
I was born an orphan, July 3rd, 1930 in Abilene Texas. I was adopted as an infant by loving parents, Neil & Zorene Thompson; we lived in Lubbock, Texas. Two years later they adopted my sister, Barbara Jane, through a hospital in Lubbock. I attended school in Lubbock through the 3rd grade, but in 1938 we moved to Pecos, Texas. We moved to a farm northwest of Pecos and Barbara and I grew up there... My maternal grandfather, M.L. Todd, founded the Pecos cantaloupe industry. My family farmed with granddad for several years and eventually purchased his interests. We operated the farms and shipping business through the 1960s.
Hobbies have always been a big part of my life. My first hobby was ham radio; I was licensed “W5OUS,” my last year in high school. As you will see, this hobby was to become a major influence in my life. After graduating from PHS in 1947, I was off to college, intending to return to the family farm...
I graduated from Abilene Christian College in 1951 with a BA in Agriculture and minor in Bible. While attending ACC, a fellow ham and I built the first campus- radio station for the college, Station KACC.
After graduation I was about to be drafted into the Army so decided to enlist in the United States Air Force for 4 years. I was trained in communications intelligence at Brooks AFB in San Antonio(because I knew the Morse code!). I then posted to the USAF Security Service, 6910th Security Group, Landsberg am Lech, southern Germany. Our training and work was highly classified, and we could never tell our friends and family what we did. However, as the 20th century ended, we watched as many of the “secrets” we guarded so carefully were revealed in books and movies; I am very proud to have served my country, and the two years in Europe were a life changing experience for this west Texas farm boy... I operated my ham station from Germany as DL4LJ. I was also badly bitten by the photo bug while in Germany. I came home with a Leica camera and organized a photography club in Pecos!
Upon discharge from the USAF, with the GI Bill in my pocket, I decided on a career in electronics, deserting the family farm for a degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. While at Tech I worshipped with the Broadway Church of Christ and attended the Texas Tech Bible Chair, which they sponsored. The Bible Chair was a Godsend for this socially backward young man, and I met my wife-to-be there, Miss Avalyn Maddox! I graduated in 1959 and went to work for Collins Radio Company in Richardson, Texas as an engineering technical writer.
Avalyn and I were married at the Broadway Church the next year, and moved into an apartment in Dallas near the Skillman Church of Christ—where I am still a member. We moved to Richardson, Texas in 1962, to be nearer my work and Texas Women's University in Denton, Texas, where Avalyn was already studying for her masters degree in elementary education. She began teaching in Richardson that same year...
In 1971 Collins Radio became part of Rockwell International and I was promoted to Manager of Publications Engineering. Because of my fascination with computers, I later moved into Logistics Engineering and lifecycle cost analysis... Yes, it seems that my life has been defined by my hobbies... First it was ham radio, then photography, then computers...
In 1978 I purchased one of the first Apple II computers (Serial No. 631) and became one of the founding members of the Apple Corps of Dallas—a computer club. (I haven't missed many Saturdays at our monthly Apple Corps meetings since, and we are now the oldest Apple “MUG” in regular meetings!) In 1984, when the Apple Macintosh arrived, I fell for it like a ton of bricks. I served as the first chairperson of the "Macintosh/Lisa SIG", and began my life as an Apple computer geek. I am grateful for the many lifelong friendships made in ACD, and for the satisfaction of introducing many to Apple computers and the Apple culture.
I retired from Rockwell in 1989 with 30 years service. Mostly for fun, I started a small Macintosh consulting business, “Mr. Mac/K.” My services included training and troubleshooting for the Mac, as well as digital publishing and database development. Avalyn retired from RISD in 1995 after 33 years of service to our community ...
In 1986 I became the computer guru for a ministry named NewLife Behavior. Our original outreach was to those in our state prisons, but the ministry now extends to many foreign countries. I publish the initial English curriculum for the ministry on my first Macintosh computer. Later, I published it in both Spanish and Russian. I hosted the first Internet e-mail list for NLB workers, beginning in 1994. I also developed the first databases for the ministry. In the last few years I’ve worked closely with the overseas division of this ministry, NewLife Behavior International, as an advisor, newsletter editor and publisher.
In 1995 I began trying to locate my old buddies from the USAFSS. I found a few—they knew others and before I knew it I was publishing a newsletter for the group, which I named the USAFSS 6910TH 50's Group. This group continued to grow for a number of years and we enjoyed two nostalgic reunions. Finally we could talk about our experiences and tell our war stories! Although our numbers have dwindled, I still host a webpage and a Yahoo e-Mail List for my USAFSS buddies.
In 1997 I was one of the first in my city connected to the Internet via a cable modem—unbelievable speed compared to our first “56K” modems! I was fascinated by the possibilities of the Internet, and in 2000 I registered my own domain name and created my personal “Home Page.” (http://www.raymack.com)
In December 2001, using the Internet, I began searching for my birth mother. Over the next year, in what I’m sure was a God-guided experience, I found the families of my birth mother and birth father—both deceased. This experience has blessed my life in many ways, including connections with two new families. They didn’t know about my birth, but have accepted me unconditionally! I’ve written a book and produced a DVD about my search, entitled: “The Blessings of an Adopted Child.”
The Lord blessed Avalyn and I with a wonderful marriage of 44 years, but sadly, I lost her to pancreatic cancer in August of 2005. Without my dear Avalyn I’ve tried to stay busy and close to the Lord. I'm in reasonably good health and still living in the house we built in Richardson.
I continue to be a dedicated fan and user of all things from Apple Computer. I have succeeded in converting the staff of Skillman church to the Mac, and developed several databases used by the church. I continue as an advisor and publisher for NewLife Behavior International, but I have also been blessed to be a part of another prison ministry, “Celebrate Recovery,” supported by Skillman church. We are partnering with another church to create and operate a broad- based support system for inmates, both before and after their time in prison. I developed a database for the ministry, do publishing and photography, and edit the personal testimonies given by our recovering members.
In 2008, as a 78 year old widower, I felt perfectly fulfilled in my life with my family, my church, my hobbies and my comfortable home... But, I was still enamored of the Internet and curiosity can be a terrible compulsion... The on-line matchmaking website, “eHarmony,” was all the buzz on the web and in popular news. I wasn't "needy" for another serious relationship, but, MAYBE?...just dining and go to a movie with an entirely new acquaintance would be fun? I signed up...
I responded to several “eHarmony matches” on my computer screen but found myself talking mostly to a 72-year old widow who lived in Sherman, Texas. Her name was Dot Murphy and her thumbnail picture was very attractive! She was a Christian, and like me, had been widowed for several years. She had three grown children and had lived all her life in Sherman. She was fun to "talk" to! Again like me, she wasn't looking for "romance," but had many e-mail friends and was just curious about eHarmony. After several months, Dot and I met in person and then began to see each other for dates—“we’re just friends,” was our story. In 2010 we took our first trip together and gradually things became more serious... love was blossoming!
We have certainly not “rushed into anything,” but in February of 2012 we became engaged! We are deeply in love, and both of us are certain the Lord brought us together. We intend to be wed—soon!
RMT (March 2013)