udley, age 84, passed away peacefully on April 6, 2010, with his family present. He was born in
his Grandmother Petersen’s ranch home in Santa Ynez Valley on November 25, 1925 to Johanna
(Petersen) Thompson and J. Dudley Thompson, Sr.
Dudley attended Jefferson Elementary School, Santa Barbara Junior High School, where he began
playing trombone, and graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1943. He served four years in the
Navy Band during W.W.II. On his return to Santa Barbara, Dudley majored in music at UCSB on
the Riviera Campus, graduating in 1950. The following year, he studied at Julliard School of Music in
Dudley was a salesman and manager of Gray’s Floor Covering for 25 years. Later he worked at
Hayward’s until retirement. He loved history and had an extensive collection of books and memorabilia
pertaining to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. Dudley and wife Audrey raised and bred horses
through the 1990’s. They owned a California state champion stallion. They enjoyed many years partici-
pating in the Quarter Horse and Paint Horse world.
His sister, Shirley, preceded him in death. He was survived by his wife, Audrey Cram Thompson,
former wife Geraldine Gray Turner, his three children, Chris Thompson, Maren Johnston, and John D.
Thompson, III, and eight grandchildren. A Graveside Funeral Service was held April 10th, at Oak Hill
Cemetery in Ballard, with Interment following.
Dudley spent many years building his collection the old fashioned way—by reviewing bookseller
catalogues, bidding at auction, and responding to bookseller’s individual quotes. He never owned a
computer and thus never trolled the Internet looking for material, although he did have a few friends
who would do that for him. Dudley confined himself almost exclusively to collecting printed materials.
Dudley was also intimately acquainted with much of what he collected. He read a great deal of it.The
collection was full of dozens and dozens of yellow legal sheets on which Dudley had done translations
into English of various items. He also read modern histories of the war and other secondary works, of
which he owned a substantial collection.
The collection was housed in a single room with bookcases on all four walls, with some specialty
storage, such as for broadsides, and some space for hanging materials, such as prints. The prominent
feature was his chair, which sat near one corner and in which he spent much of his time and presided
over his dukedom.
Dudley was one of the few traditional collectors left in the computer age.Though not an extravagant
man, he managed to build a significant resource for the study of the Mexican-American War. He had an
exceptionally sharp eye for ephemera.
His wish was that others now enjoy and use the materials, just as he had.
J. Dudley Thompson