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Wendell Emery Tompkins

01/03/1932 - 07/05/2020
Service Date: 08/06/2020
Service Time: 7:00 PM. 
Service Location: Tri-City Baptist Church, 2211 W. Germann Road, Chandler, AZ, 85288
Visitation Date: 08/06/0202
Visitation Time: 5:30 - 6:45 PM
Visitation Location: Tri-City Baptist Church, 2211 W. Germann Road, Chandler, AZ, 85288
Interment: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona

Wendell Emery Tompkins, 88, of Tempe, AZ, gained his eyesight and saw his Lord and Savior on Saturday, July 4, 2020.  He left his earthly home peacefully with his wife by his side.

Wendell was born in Mapleton, ME, on January 3, 1932, to Elmer M. and Adeline (Bull) Tompkins.  He graduated from Mapleton High School in 1949 and from Bob Jones University in 1953 with a degree in music education.  Wendell began his teaching career in Easton, ME, where he taught K-12 music for 3 years before being drafted into the US Army.  Starting out at Fort Dix, NJ, Wendell eventually ended up at Fort Story, VA, where he was the clerk typist for the sergeant major.  During this time, he learned to play the organ, directed the chapel choir, and sang in an award-winning barbershop quartet.  While home on leave, he reacquainted himself with Betty Barton, whom he later married.  In February of 1958, stomach surgery led to a medical discharge from the army.

On August 5, 1958, Wendell and Betty became husband and wife.  They lived in Easton, ME where Wendell resumed his teaching for the next 3 years.  He then taught at Stearns High School in Millinocket, ME; Stephens/Rumford High School in Rumford, ME; Clinton Christian School in Upper Marlboro, MD; Tri-Cities Christian School in Blountville, TN; and Tri-City Christian Academy in Chandler, AZ where he retired from teaching in 1994.  He was responsible for launching several highly successful band programs across the country. His encouragement led many students to continue developing and using music throughout their lives. Following his retirement, Wendell worked in the garden center at Walmart in Mesa for 11 years.

Wendell was beloved by all who met him.  He adored his wife, children, and their families.  “Dad, Grandpaw, Papa, and Grandpaw Pumkin” was dearly loved by his family!  Wendell was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Adeline Tompkins; brothers-in-law, Sherwood Barton, Wendell Blackstone, and Clayton Blackstone; sisters-in-law, Joanne Tompkins, Lois Barton, Doris Barton, Phyllis Blackstone; and niece, Heidi (Tompkins) Knight.  He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Betty (Barton) Tompkins of Tempe; daughter, Nancy (Tompkins) Blount (husband, Bill) of Hesperia, MI; and two sons, Steven Tompkins (wife, Becky) of Greenville, SC, and Jeff Tompkins (wife, Annette) of Orangevale, CA. He has 13 beloved grandchildren: Erin (Blount) Montanye (husband, Phil); Andrew Blount (wife, Emily); Zach Blount; Ethan Blount (wife, Catherine); Paige (Blount) Converse (husband, Alex); Kelsee Blount; Karlee Blount; Will Blount; Kaitlynn Tompkins; Kaleigh Tompkins (fiancé, Jon  Ludka); Karis Tompkins; Carissa Tompkins; Karyn Tompkins; and, six precious great-grandchildren. Wendell is also survived by his two brothers, Roland Tompkins (wife, Pauline) of Presque Isle, ME ; and Gerald Tompkins (wife, Eileen) of Grand Forks, ND; and an aunt, Ardis Tompkins Libby, of Crouseville, ME.

The family would like to express gratitude to the hospice team from Banner Health who graciously assisted in caring for Wendell in his final days.

Public visitation with the family will be on August 6, 2020 at Tri-City Baptist Church, 2211 W. Germann Road, Chandler, AZ, 85288, from 5:30 – 6:45 PM, with a memorial service to follow at 7:00 PM.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Wendell’s memory to Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC; International Baptist College and Seminary, Chandler, AZ; or, The Wilds of New England, Deering, NH.  Interment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ.


  • Betty, praying for you all daily!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Much love and many prayers.

  • Angie Grizzle

    Bettye, oh how I know Wendell is smiling with beautiful eyes shining! As he is fixated on our Lord Jesus, his heart is with you and his sweet family. My prayers are with you all. I love you and hope I get the chance to see you again sometime. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to teach at Tri-Cities Christian with you both. Those were special days.

  • Bill and Bonnie Blount

    Will never forget and will look longingly to being together, only because of the wonderful grace of Jesus, around His throne and meandering through the streets and places of glory and meeting so many who have gone before. So many we can’t wait to see including Wendell. While still here we are praying for you all and ourselves daily. We love you all.

  • Gary & Charlene Coomer

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Betty and the rest of Wendell’s wonderful family. Praying for God’s peace to ease the pain of your loss.

  • Praying for the family & especially you, Betty. I have many precious memories of teaching with Wendell.

  • Monica Stinson

    Praying for your family!

  • Myron & Faye Williams

    Betty, our friendship goes all the way back to 1950, our Freshman year in college. We appreciate so much how God has led & used you & Wendell over the years. We are thankful that he is home with the Lord he served so faithfully, and we pray for God’s sustaining grace to be with you Betty as you continue in your service to our God.

  • Marcia Gammon

    Wendell touched so many lives with his compassion for others and love of music. He was always joyful and ready with a joke to make us smile! I can only imagine how many are smiling along with him in Heaven! May God bless you Betty and your wonderful family!

  • Kurt Tompkins

    Aunt Betty and Cousins Nancy, Steve and Jeff.

    So sorry for your loss, but at the same time I rejoice in the knowledge that Uncle Wendell is in the presence of God. What wonderful memories I have of my Uncle! (Of course, the four of you are included in those memories, too.) From my earliest recollection of crashing Steve’s bike at your home in Rumford to Christmas on the State Road (including gifts of sequined majorette uniforms) to visits at your home in Tempe (with at least one trip to Organ Stop Pizza), a family reunion in Wisconsin (which included maximizing the capacity of a hot tub), playing a piano duet with our then-grade-school daughter at our home in Devils Lake, and a summer reunion trip to the County a few years ago. Great memories! I immensely enjoyed my uncle’s dry and witty sense of humor. (It seems to run in the family.) I admired his faith and was amazed at his musical, teaching and horticultural skills and abilities. Lastly, I am thankful that he suggested his brother (my dad) contact one of his Easton High School students (my mom) in the late 1950s. As the say, “The rest is history.” I might not be here today if he hadn’t. God Bless You! I love you all!

  • Patricia Madore

    I am saddened to hear of the loss of Mr. Tompkins. He and his wife and family were wonderful while here in Millinocket. I remember the day he asked me to take French horn lessons one summer so I could join the school band. I grew up as Patricia Somers and I have fond memories of Mr. Tompkins and family.

  • He was such an encouragement to me personally. His passion for music and his love for others will long be remembered. So thankful for the influence you were in my youth. RIP.

  • Mr. Tompkins was my Band Director during my years at Stephens/Rumford High School. Not only did he teach me to play many different instruments, he taught me “If you have the talent it is a waste to not use it. Never be afraid of the gift given to you. Embrace it….Others wish they had it.” I have never forgotten those words and used them several times during my career. He was a very special man. My sympathies to the family.

  • Jeffrey Clark Sturgill

    I am so sorry for your loss but we know we will see him again! And right know he is praising and singing and playing something in the band of Heaven. I’m praying for you all and it won’t be long till we join him, rest and depend on God for comfort.

  • Nancy what a beautiful legacy. There is a hello after goodbye. We will be with them longer than we were without them. Also kiddo. We will never say goodbye in glory !!

  • Richie Wampler

    Miss Betty and family, my heart reaches out to you all today as I lift up prayers for you. I pray that you have peace that passeth all understanding and that God spreads a soothing balm on all the sore places. Mr. Tompkins will be missed for now, but we will all see him again soon. He is running, and laughing and seeing things with his new eyesight, things we cannot even fathom, and he will be there smiling and waiting, brimming with new stories to tell when God calls us home.
    Mr. Tompkins was my utmost favorite teacher of all time, and he molded and shaped me through music and kindness into the man I am now. He is loved, he is missed, he is with Jesus!!
    God bless you all through this present valley in life, and remember, where there is a valley, a mountain is soon to follow! Love you all!
    – Richie Wampler

  • Steve , my condolences to you on your Dad’s passing. I remember when I worked at Marquette , you would talk about him . Psalm 91. Dick Clancy

  • He will be dearly missed. He was always friendly.

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