Class of 1928
Jack A. Tompkins
Served American Airlines for 41 years, 13 years as vice president
Played for Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings
Named in 1967 as one of the University of Michigan’s All-Time Athletic Greats
Inductee, Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame, 1997
Jack A. Tompkins graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1928. Jack was an amazing athlete in high school earning 16 varsity letters. He pitched four no-hit no-run games and led the baseball team in hitting as it won 33 straight games and 2 state championships.
At the University of Michigan, Jack Tompkins captained both the baseball team and the hockey team earning All-American recognition on three occasions. He is a member of the U of M's Hall of Honor. After college Mr. Tompkins played professional sports with the farm teams of both the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.
In 1935 Jack Tompkins was hired as a reservations clerk by American Airlines. He retired 40 years later as the Vice-President of Northern Operations. He is credited with convincing American Airlines to become the first commercial carrier at Metro Airport in Detroit, and persuaded the Civil Aeronautics Board to designate Detroit as one of six American cities to be a terminal for international flight.
Mr. Tompkins served on many civic committees at crucial times. He was President of the Detroit Convention and Tourism Bureau during the construction of Cobo Hall. He observed the construction of Detroit City Airport terminal while President of the Detroit Aviation Commission. He was part of the leadership groups forming the Buffalo Bills football team and the Hazel Park Harness Raceway.
Jack also gave of his time and talent to many civic organizations including the Boy Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Economic Club of Detroit, the Travelers' Aid Society and the Roundtable of Christians and Jews. In 1965, Tompkins co-founded the Great Lakes Invitational hockey tournament that has been held between Christmas and New Years in Detroit every year since. Mr. Tompkins was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 1997.