MAROOCHYDORE parishioner Roy Thompson agrees with Jesus’ warning not to store his treasures on earth, which is why he’s donated millions of dollars on the Sunshine Coast.
The property developer and former publican is a multi-millionaire philanthropist who has given generously to improve life for residents on the Coast.
To the University of the Sunshine Coast alone, the generous Catholic has given $14 million in the past three years.
“I’m eighty-seven, can’t live forever, can’t take it with you, so why shouldn’t you give it to people where you’ve made the money?” Mr Thompson said.
“I’ve made a lot of money here and why not give it back?”
His gifts to the university included an investment for bursaries and scholarships until 2075, funding to assist with the construction of a carpark, and a donation to build the Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute.
The institute is a world-class facility for mental health and neurological research, teaching and clinical services led by medical specialist Professor Jim Lagopoulos.
“I’m interested in anything that helps our area, and mental problems on the Coast is very, very high,” Mr Thompson said.
“So I’m interested in things that can help the people that are on the Coast.”
As well as giving to the USC, Mr Thompson has donated to Hear and Say, members of the community and his beloved Catholic community of 48 years, Stella Maris Parish, in Maroochydore.
Some of the funding for the parish’s redevelopment of a new $5 million church last year came from Mr Thompson.
“They’ve got a very good parish priest and it’s a beautiful new building,” he said.
Mr Thompson and his wife of 61 years, Nola, moved to Scarborough, on the Redcliffe Peninsula, from Melbourne, and he met “one of the most fantastic men”, Monsignor Bartholomew Frawley.
While living in Scarborough Mr Thompson founded Chifley’s Hotel at Alexandra Headland, prompting the family’s move to Maroochydore.
Mr Thompson sold Chifley’s in 1978 and ran the Mooloolaba Hotel.
He still works as a builder and subdivider, and has no plans to retire.
“If you enjoy what you’re doing it helps,” Mr Thompson said.
While enjoying his stellar career, Mr Thompson believed in sharing his earnings with the community.
“Well, as I say, we don’t know where we’re going, we’re gonna make bloody sure we try and get there,” he said.
“I don’t know whether that will help or not but let’s try.”
Mr Thompson and his wife were named in the top 10 biggest givers in Queensland last year.
“I was very surprised about that and I thought that was lovely,” he said.
The Thompsons have eight children, 16 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
There are no plans to leave Maroochydore or the Sunshine Coast.
“I wouldn’t move from here for millions,” Mr Thompson said.