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Wayne Thompson

Following graduation from Willamette University in 1964, Medford native Wayne Thompson joined the Peace Corps. "It changed my life," says Thompson, who met his wife Rolly during training, then lived with indigenous people in the Urubamba Valley of Peru. He and Rolly remain active in the local returned-volunteers group. On his return, Thompson got into teaching to avoid the Viet Nam draft, and ultimately taught social studies for 28 years at Roosevelt Junior High and South Eugene HS. When he and Rolly moved to Fox Hollow Road south of Eugene in 1976, they began to raise colored sheep at the suggestion of Sachiye Jones, originator of the annual Black Sheep Gathering. "I'm the shepherd's helper," says Thompson. "Rolly understands genetics and wool. She's the fiber artist." However, Thompson himself helped put the BSG on the map when he organized the Third World Congress on Colored Sheep in Eugene in 1989. This year's BSG is free and open to the public, June 24-26 at the Lane County Fairgrounds. "We'll have over 600 animals from western states," he says. "Fleeces are judged, then go on sale. Spinners from all over get in line to buy them."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 16 June 2005

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