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He was the Egg Man
North Market's 'most jovial merchant' missed

April 2008
by Mary Martineau

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Bill Thompson in his ever-present North Market ball cap.

The North Market lost its biggest fan and its most jovial merchant when Gatterdam Eggs proprietor Bill Thompson passed away on Monday, March 10. Bill had operated the Gatterdam Eggs stand since 1995 when original owner (since 1916) Dorothy Gatterdam turned over the day-to-day operation of the business to her family due to illness. Bill was the longtime partner of Dorothy’s niece, Shirley Thibaut, and he volunteered to help out for awhile. As fate would have it, once he took over he never left.

When Dorothy passed away in 1999, Bill became the owner of Gatterdam Eggs. It was a role he truly relished, as evidenced by the ages-old North Market baseball cap that was constantly perched atop his head. Shirley related that he devotedly wore his North Market cap everywhere despite being given more elegant options like the nice TBDBITL cap from his grandson. “He even wanted to wear it to church!” she lamented. Many folks at the North Market will miss Bill, his ball cap and his cheerful demeanor too.

“Bill Thompson had such an affinity for the North Market,” said David Wible, executive director of the North Market. “His boundless energy, passion and commitment to this place enabled Gatterdam Eggs to continue in the tradition that Dorothy established in 1916. The egg stand has been operating for nearly a century and that’s just incredible!”

Annmarie Wong of North Market Poultry and Game fondly remembers Bill for his love of music. “Every Saturday he’d be tuned in to 920 AM and it was Bill’s oldies but goodies time. It wasn’t a Saturday until you’d listened to a set of Barry Manilow songs, a couple by Barbara Streisand and a few Lionel Richies.”

Dareen Wearstler was Bill’s neighbor at Better Earth. “He was such a sweet, kind and loving man and I so miss him already. I just loved being his neighbor. He so loved the Market and his music. Then he’d bring in his little television for Buckeye football games, and soon he’d have a crowd of guys around him cheering for OSU while their wives were shopping.”

Alex Kushkin from Heil’s Family Deli knew Bill Thompson as the numbers man. “If I’d get stuck on a baseball player’s number that I couldn’t remember, Bill was the one to ask. He knew them all and he just loved to talk sports!”

Bob Mangia from Market Blooms knew him as the devoted partner who loved to buy flowers for Shirley. “He loved carnations and on every holiday he’d buy a basket of carnations for Shirley. It was just nice to see him every Saturday, he’d be one of the first faces here, smiling and saying ‘good morning!’ to everybody.”

Not only did Bill keep the Market stocked with fabulous eggs, but many of us benefited from his primary occupation as a vacuum repair salesman. Numerous merchants and employees knew Bill as the go-to guy when one’s vacuum blew a belt or mysteriously stopped operating with a funny whine and a puff of smoke. All you had to do was bring it in to him on Saturday and in no time flat you got back your sweeper functioning and polished like new…and all for a great rate!

For Director of Operations Peggy Outcalt, Bill Thompson was the best reason to open the North Market on early Saturday mornings. He was always there with a bright smile and a peck on the cheek. “He was the sweetest man, so genuinely kind. He went out of his way to be nice to everyone and he loved his shoppers. Saturday morning for me will never be quite the same.”

Saturday mornings at the North Market for myriad shoppers, merchants and staff will never be quite the same. We loved you and will miss you Bill. You were our egg man.

Mary Martineau is Marketing Director at the North Market.

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©2008 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.