Young Grass Valley man dies while sleeping
A 24-year-old man died of possible complications from a former traumatic head injury at his home in Grass Valley Tuesday.
Benjamin Thompson’s father said he lost an “All-American son” with a great spirit of love for everyone in his life.
“If you met him, you would never forget him,” said Jerry Thompson. “He had charm – just a teddy bear.”
He found his son in his bed Tuesday, dead from what he thinks may be an the residual effect of a serious car accident that occurred in the late 1990s.
Thompson and a carload of his friends were returning home to Grass Valley from a girl’s state championship basketball game at Arco Arena when the driver fell asleep on Highway 49 and the car rolled near Bear River Bridge.
“He was the only one hurt,” Thompson said. “It was a traumatic head injury.”
With an outpouring of support from the community, Jerry and Kathie Thompson were able to spend 28 days by Benjamin’s side in the hospital while he recovered.
Thompson said his son sustained lasting brain damage from the accident, and he thinks it may have contributed to Benjamin’s death, though an autopsy will reveal the exact cause of death.
Benjamin leaves behind his 18-month-old daughter, Avrielle.
He was born and raised in Grass Valley and graduated from Nevada Union high School in 2000. He was an Eagle Scout who participated in baseball, football wrestling and competition cheerleading.
His father said he loved to sing and was a member of the Nevada Union Men’s choir.
Benjamin also served two years as a missionary for the Church of Latter-day Saints in the Texas Fort Worth Mission.
His mother, Katherine, said the family was still in shock Wednesday but trying to cope with their loss.
“He was a great source of joy to his family and friends,” she said. “They broke the mold.”
Services will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Church of Latter-day Saints at 615 Hollow Way in Nevada City.
To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@ theunion.com or call 477-4236.
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