A piece of Craig history: Night marshal Alva Thompson died on the job 81 years ago | CraigDailyPress.com

A piece of Craig history: Night marshal Alva Thompson died on the job 81 years ago

Alva Thompson, left, with his wife, Cora, are shown in this historic portrait archived by the Museum of Northwest Colorado.
Courtesy / Museum of Northwest Colorado

Not every moment in Craig’s illustrious history is pretty. The tragic accidental death of a night marshal 81 years ago Wednesday is part of that complex legacy.

Alva Thompson died Oct. 13, 1940. A night marshal in the Craig marshal’s office, investigation determined Thompson dropped his gun, which had a faulty mechanism and, firing, struck Alva with a bullet through the neck that exited the base of his brain. He was found dead in the morning by the city marshal.

A tragic end to a 49-year-old law enforcement officer put a grisly punctuation mark on the end of an interesting life.

Thompson, according to Keith Dameron, a historian for the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial, had lived in Colorado since 1915, and Craig since some time after 1916. Thompson was memorialized in the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial this past September along with four other historic law enforcement agents who died on the job.

According to Dameron, Thompson, born Nov. 20, 1890, in Bloomfield, Iowa, married Cor Ethel Collom June 17 1916 in Axial, southwest of Craig. The couple lived in Axial and Thompson is credited with building many of the buildings there, including the schoolhouse.

“After moving to Craig, he continue to work as a carpenter and also worked on the building of the Moffat Tunnel,” Dameron wrote. “Alva served as a special marshal when needed and would also fil in for the day or night marshal when they took a day off. He was working the night marshal shift for Dillard Robertson, who had taken the night off to attend a political rally.”

The Thompsons had three children, Noelle Osborn, then 22, Marilyn Thompson, then 21, and Chester Thompson, then 18. His services were held Oct. 16, 1940 at the Baptist Church, conducted by the Craig Elks Lodge, of which Alva was a member, per Dameron. He is buried at the Craig Cemetery.

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