Martin Eugene Thompson, Jr.

January 11, 1980 ~ August 16, 2023 (age 43) 43 Years Old

Martin Thompson, Jr. Obituary

Martin Eugene Thompson Jr., passed away in his sleep at home, in Bend, on Aug. 16. Martin was born in Bend on Jan. 11, 1980, to Martin E. and Tawnya (Vermillion) Thompson. He was big brother to four brothers and three sisters and lovingly shouldered that responsibility his entire life. Even as a young boy he watched out for his little brother, Grant, and then, later, his other siblings.

Martin and his brothers grew up on the family ranch at Princeton, where he regularly tagged along with his dad and Grandpa Nevin learning about daily ranch life, both the mundane and the exhilarating. Martin loved the ranch and the lifestyle it allowed. He grew up, played, and worked in the outdoors, and provided the experience to his own children when they visited the ranch with him.


Martin attended Crane schools and graduated high school in 1998 as Student Body President.  He was a gifted student and three sport athlete in high school, culminating in being selected for, and playing in, the 8-Man All-Star football game after his Senior year. He was a talented wrestler and won a third-place medal at the state tournament in Portland, also his Senior year. Martin was also a member of Crane’s track team every spring, where he excelled as a sprinter.

While in high school, Martin developed his uniquely articulate style of expression, and further honed that talent in arguing with his father.  Many in the family predicted that his quick wit and speaking ability would serve him well in a future career.

Martin earned a degree in Political Science from Oregon State University and went on to study and earn a law degree at the University of South Dakota. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2008 and continued his studies at Washington State University School of Law, earning an advanced law degree in taxation, focusing on areas of business and estate taxation and tax controversy. Martin then served a clerkship on the Oregon Supreme Court for Justice Paul J. De Muniz, followed by a year in Seattle representing low  income taxpayers against the IRS.

Martin returned home and opened a small, general practice in Burns. He met and married Leslie Wagner and they began their family. After five years of bartering and trading with clients who could not afford a retainer, Martin had acquired an assortment of vehicles and even a house, but was ultimately forced to look for better pay to support his growing family.

The family moved to Bend in 2017 where Martin worked at several firms, including the Law Office of Angela Lee and Stahancyk, Kent, and Hook, before starting his own firm in 2019. Martin learned a great deal from the firms he worked for and made friends everywhere he worked, but his firm, Cascades Law Group, P.C., allowed him the freedom and independence which he had known growing up on the ranch, and which had always guided his life.

Martin built a strong rapport with his clients by treating them with empathy and dignity. He served a mix of family and criminal clients, whom he jokingly referred to as a mix of criminals on their best behavior, and upstanding citizens on their worst behavior. 

In his criminal defense practice Martin was known for meeting his clients in person and always putting $100 or more on their books. A judge once dubbed Martin a “client whisperer” on observing his knack for convincing even the most unreasonable clients to act reasonably.  Martin always saw the potential in people. He believed in his criminal clients’ abilities to turn their lives around and to go on to live productive lives. 

In his family practice, Martin was known to observe that “a good compromise is when both parties walk away equally unhappy.” Martin’s country roots shone through in his ability to negotiate, mediate, and reach a settlement on his client’s behalf.  He had an unparalleled way with words, tempering even the most difficult conversations with humor and humility. Opposing counsel generally found him to be refreshingly quirky and challenging. Martin’s true genius was in the court room where he was quick witted, logical, and deeply committed to his clients’ outcomes. He went above and beyond to connect with his clients on a personal level, frequently giving out his personal cell phone number and answering calls after hours.

Though Cascades Law Group maintained a full case load, Martin frequently took on work for friends, family, and former clients in Harney County. His staff dubbed these jobs “side quests” and tried not to be too annoyed that the jobs that took much of Martin’s attention were rarely the ones that paid the bills. Helping his community was Martin’s ultimate passion. His friends and family rarely knew the monetary value of the services that he provided, as it was never his intention to make people feel indebted to him.

Martin was just as generous and magnanimous as an employer as he was with family and friends. Ultimately he treated his employees as family. Martin prioritized his family over his job and was adamant that his employees do the same.  He allowed for flexibility in the schedule around school and extracurricular activities. Though the work was often stressful, Martin always maintained an even temper, patience, and a sense of humor. The office was full of laughter and a sense of camaraderie. Though Martin didn’t provide an overabundance of supervision, he won the loyalty of his employees by believing in their abilities and generously praising work that was done to his standards. He regularly took the office out for lunch, or as he called it “lunch club.” He took care of his employees, expressing genuine concern over their lives, and made sure that everyone had their needs met. Staff regularly celebrated holidays and birthdays together. Many tears will be shed with the closing of the Cascades Law Group office. Though Martin’s employees felt a sense of ownership for the value that they provided to the business, there was only one owner, and he is irreplaceable.

Laughter, banter, and energy was ever-present with Martin and he made it seem effortless, but he was so much more. He was a rock, a role model and steadfast brother, son, husband, father, and friend. He will be missed by all his family and those who knew him. 

Martin is survived by his wife, Leslie, and their children, Dalton, Sophie, Dillinger, and baby daughter, due in December; mother, Tawnya Larkin of Burns; and sisters, Dustie, Sydney, and Molly; father, Martin Thompson of Princeton; and brothers Grant, Raymond, and Greg Thompson, and step-brother, J. DeHaven; grandmother, Shirley Thompson of Princeton; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.  Martin was preceded in death by his grandparents, Chuck and Jane Vermillion, and Nevin Thompson Sr.

A memorial service will be held Sept. 16 at 11 a.m., at St. Andrews Episcopal and Peace Lutheran Church on N. Diamond and West “A” streets. LaFollette’s Chapel is in charge of arrangements. A Go-Fund-Me account has been set up for the family, but donations may also be made in care of LaFollette’s Chapel.

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Memorial Service
September 16, 2023

11:00 AM
St. Andrews Episcopal Church
393 West A Street
Burns, Oregon 97720


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