Cover photo for Joseph Hank Thompson's Obituary
Joseph Hank Thompson Profile Photo

Joseph Hank Thompson

January 13, 1958 — March 21, 2024


Joseph Hank Thompson

Joseph “Hank” Thompson of Asheville, North Carolina died March 21, 2024. He was 66 years old. 


Hank’s life story began in Thomasville, Georgia, where he was born and then adopted at birth by his loving parents, Collie Glen and Alice Keeling Thompson. They lived in the small town of Ailey, Georgia, where his father, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, owned a wholesale candy business, complete with a large warehouse in their backyard that was filled with hundreds of candies, snacks and treats, making Hank a popular kid in Ailey! When Hank was 14, his family moved to Waynesville, North Carolina, where they purchased an apple orchard. A natural-born salesman, Hank helped his family sell apples in the fall, along with his mother’s hand-knitted and crocheted artisan items. This family operation honed Hank’s aptitude for salesmanship and showcased his profound love for people and his ability to interact with them. In addition to his towering stature, he possessed a larger-than-life personality. Hank loved playing basketball at Tuscola High School, where he served as student body president, homecoming king and was voted “Most Popular.” Even at an early age it was clear that everyone – young and old – admired Hank, so much so that his first boss at the Stuckey’s in Maggie Valley told his parents that he could be a U.S. president one day!


After graduating from high school, Hank received a college scholarship to play basketball at Greensboro College. Then after college, he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he began working for Planned Cable Systems. Eventually Hank’s work took him to Dallas, Texas, where he became vice president and general manager. After eight years with the franchised cable organization, he left to start his own company, Starpath, in 1988. President and CEO of Starpath, Hank was a trailblazer of the private cable industry. He later sold his successful business and moved back to Waynesville to raise his two children in his hometown, where he so fondly grew up.


In his lifetime, Hank loved deeply and unconditionally, making those around him feel better about life by just being in his presence. His distinctive voice made others smile, and he always welcomed everyone with a big, genuine bear hug. He had a one-of-kind laugh and a way of making everyone feel special, appreciated and valued. Hank loved the mountains of Western North Carolina, his Georgia Bulldogs, the Dallas Cowboys and the Florida State Seminoles.


Hank is survived by his devoted and caring family, which includes his partner of 18 years, John Ferrell, and their son, Jaxson Ferrell, of Asheville, N.C.; his children, Matthew Thompson (Liz) and Shannon Cramm (Tim); and three grandchildren, Elias Thompson, Chloe Cramm and Rowan Cramm – all of Waynesville, N.C. He was preceded in death by his parents, Collie and Alice Thompson. Hank also felt fortunate to meet many members of his biological family later in life and was grateful for the time he was able to spend with them.


Funeral service will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2024, at the Waynesville Chapel of Wells Funeral Home, 296 North Main Street, Waynesville, North Carolina 28786. Friends will be received at a reception following the service in the Wells Event Center located next door. A private burial will be held in a family cemetery in Poplar, North Carolina.

Services will be livestream for those that will not be able to attend. Please scroll below for the livestream. 


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Joseph “Hank” Thompson to the Elizabeth House at Four Seasons, 581 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731 or a charity of your choosing. 


The care of Mr. Thompson has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Hank Thompson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, March 22, 2024

5:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wells Funeral Home - Waynesville

296 North Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Reception following the Service

Friday, March 22, 2024

Starts at 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wells Events & Reception Center

33 Wells Events Wy, Waynesville, NC 28786

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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