In Loving Memory of Harlan E. Thompson: 1945-2021


Harlan Eugene Thompson (known as Harnie or Harn by a number of childhood friends and family), of Cedar Park, Texas, passed away on Sept. 18 at the age of 76. He was born on May 10, 1945 in Aberdeen, Washington, to Lois Irwin, and was raised by the man he called dad, Marshall Thompson. 

Harlan fell out of a very tall tree at the age of 12 while playing “tree top tag” with his three buddies and broke his back. Less than a month later, he fell out of a cherry tree, landing on a picket fence with his chin, leading to numerous stitches, a lovely lifelong scar and a very angry mother. 

He graduated from Moclips High School on the Washington coast in 1963. Dad had perfect attendance throughout high school. Do keep in mind that leaving school for clam digging was authorized. Harlan also participated in a number of extracurricular activities, including student government, four years of football and one year of boxing. He made a number of wonderful, and at times, painful memories with his lifelong buddies Jim Westby, Rod Parker and Louis Stewart. 

Harlan attended Grays Harbor Community College and worked at Harbor Wholesale and Pay ‘n Save (Aberdeen) until he joined the Navy in 1967. Unbeknownst to Harlan, he was prone to seasickness and returned from his tour a good 50 pounds lighter than when he left. 

Throughout his career, Harlan enjoyed many sales positions in various industries in the Centralia and Stayton, Oregon areas and while managing his first Safeway (Aberdeen, Washington), his store received commendation for highest sales per square foot on the west coast. One of Harlan’s lifelong dreams was to own and operate his own store and in June 1986, that became a reality when Harlan and Charlotte purchased Mary’s Corner Market, which they owned and operated for 10 years. 

Harlan was also very active with Kiwanis, Pope’s Place, the Rotary, Centralia City Council (2008-2011), and served as the mayor of Centralia (2010-2011) and on the Riverside Fire Authority (2008-2019). While serving as a commissioner with the RFA, he was always the first to volunteer at the firehouse at the Southwest Washington Fair and many other activities in which the RFA was involved. 

Over the years, Harlan played on a men’s softball team, basketball with guys from the Washington State Patrol, played tennis and enjoyed swimming laps at the community pool in Centralia. 

He won a car and was very proud of the fast as lightning Ford Festiva, which was driven for thousands of miles before being put out to pasture. 

Harlan loved to fish and you could find him on lakes and rivers all over western Washington, including the Cowlitz, Toutle and Humptulips rivers, as well as on Lake Mayfield and Riffe Lake. 

Harlan and Charlotte were members of Jackson Prairie Church until moving to Centralia in 2003, where they created close bonds with their church family at Calvary Chapel of Centralia. Harlan and Charlotte moved to Cedar Park, Texas, in 2019 with their shih tzu Mitzi to enjoy the Texas sunshine in their sunset years. While there they became fast friends with their beloved community at Calvary Chapel Leander. 

Harlan is survived by his loving wife of 55 years Charlotte and four children Marshall (Toni) of Cedar Park, Texas, Amy (Scott) of Troutdale, Oregon, Nate (Denise) of Napavine, Washington, and Andrew of Cedar Park, Texas. In addition to his wife and children, Harlan is survived by his sister Eileen Owens of Napavine, Washington; brother Gary Thompson of Sacramento, California; nine grandchildren Brittani, Ryan, Cam, Cameron, Tyler, Kaytlyn, Madelynn, Hayden and Logan; plus four great-grandchildren. A number of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends will also miss him dearly. 

A celebration of life will be held at Calvary Chapel in Centralia, Washington on Saturday Oct. 2, 2021 at 2 p.m.


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Troy Houghtaling Sr

Harlan was a great one. Harlan was my first boss. On my 16th birthday I started working at the Centralia Safeway (now Goodwill) were he was my boss for one year. Moved on to bigger and better things. Harland was always there if I had a question within the store. Once leaving he always would shake my hand and say Hello when we seen each other. Last time I seen him was at the Post Office in Centralia. Always with that smile he always had for people. Had total respect for him no matter were in life we met. Harland taught me a lot about business and people and do not know if he knew that. He will be missed in life. My prayers go out to his family and will see him again in the second coming of are Lord....Rest In Peace my friend.

Friday, September 24
John Hylton

Harland was a great guy. When my wife and I first got married in 1988 we lived out Jackson Hwy just past his store at Mary's Corner. I stopped in every morning on my way to work to get a cup of coffee for the road and just shoot the morning breeze with Harland. It was a great way to start my day. Once we moved and I no longer would stop by the store in the morning Harland any chance he had whether it be at a wedding we both were attending or even my place of work, he woukd bring me a cup of coffee. What a good guy. I will definitely remember Harland for the wonderful man he was.

Friday, September 24
Bradd Reynolds

When I came to centralia in 1986 Harlan was one of the first people I met.

He was the manager of the Centralia Safeway store. Regardless if i was in his store as a customer or on business he would always have a smile and take a few minutes to thank me and to ask how I was looking my new home town.

Over the next several decades I would run into at his store on hwy 12 or at a community event.

Still he took the time to say hello and ask about life in general.

He always had a heart of service and left his footprints in the sand.

I was sad when I heard he had moved to Texas. But in sure his new home town was better off for it.

Monday, September 27