Oklahoman wins honor from France

Barbara Thompson, a retired teacher, has advocated for French language education.
By Tiffany M. Poole, For The Oklahoman Published: December 2, 2013

Barbara Thompson, retired Oklahoma City French teacher and Honorary Consul of France has been named an Officier de la Legion d' Honneur, or Officer in the French order of the Legion of Honor, by decree of the president of France.

The National Order of the Legion of Honor, also known as the Legion of Honor, was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into the five ranks: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross). The award, which is the European country's highest honor, recognizes eminent civil or military conduct and service to France.

Thompson, who was initially awarded the title of Chevalier in 2006, was promoted to the rank of Officier on Nov. 18 at a ceremony in Tulsa, and presented with a medal by the General Consul of France of Houston, the Honorable Sujiro Seam.

The awards banquet was held at the Tulsa Summit Club and in attendance were Barbara Thompson's husband, retired federal judge Ralph Thompson, and daughters Maria Abbott and Elaine DeGiusti, of Oklahoma City. Also present were Dr. Roger Randle, Honorary British Consul for Oklahoma, and Grant Moak, the current Honorary Consul of France for Oklahoma.

In announcing the award, His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States in Washington, D.C., stated that the honor, “illustrates France's profound gratitude expressed by the President of the French Republic and acknowledges your exemplary personal commitment to the French-American relations as symbolized by your activity as Honorary Consul and your exceptional cooperation to promote French language and culture in Oklahoma.”

Barbara Thompson attended Will Rogers High School and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in French and a teaching certificate.

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