James F. “Mace” Thompson (1941-2021)

The team at Lyman are sad to announce the passing of James F. “Mace” Thompson, the founder of Lyman Products Corp. Mace passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer, on Saturday Apr. 3, 2021 surrounded by his wife Pam and other family members. He was 79.

Mr. Thompson was born on Dec. 22, 1941 and was a native of Philadelphia, PA. He attended St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. Upon graduation he went on to attend Harvard University and completed his MBA. After several years working for Monsanto Corp. in St. Louis, he joined the Leisure Group in the 70’s and became a part of the shooting sports community where he spent the rest of his career. The Leisure Group was a corporation with numerous companies in the shooting sports industry, including Lyman, Sierra Bullets and High Standard Firearms, as well as other companies in the leisure activity market. Mace became the President of the Reloading Products Division in 1972 managing the Lyman and Sierra businesses. 

In 1977 Mr. Thompson headed a group of investors and purchased Lyman from the Leisure Group. Lyman became a privately-owned company and remains that to this day. To celebrate Lyman’s centennial (1878 – 1978) Mace commissioned a commemorative limited-edition Ruger No. 1 single shot rifle in 45-70. 

Seeking to grow the Lyman umbrella within the industry and to add compatible product lines, Mr. Thompson began an aggressive expansion plan. In 1987 Lyman acquired Raytech Industries to support Lyman’s growing sales of vibratory finishing equipment, a market he personally helped to pioneer in reloading. Starting in 1996 he further added additional companies including Pachmayr, TacStar, Trius Traps, A-Zoom Training Rounds, and Butch’s Gun Care. Most recently he assisted in the acquisition of Mark 7 Reloading in 2019. Mace was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and proud supporter of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and many other Industry associations. He served as President of Lyman until 2011 when he retired to become Chairman of Lyman’s Board of Directors. He remained active and committed to the company until his passing. 

Mr. Thompson was the youngest of nine children. He shared his life with his beloved wife Pam Thompson, whom he married in 2000. He is survived by Pam, his sisters Helen, Dolores, and Marie and 27 nieces and nephews.  

During his career Mace was a tremendous leader. He was a maverick, a creative thinker, and an innovator. He loved education and always took the opportunity to teach and mentor employees. He will be sorely missed but his memory and legacy will live on with all that knew him.