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Dr. John Ansel Armstrong Thomson, inventor of the SUPERthrive horticultural vitamins-hormones solution, passed away peacefully on November 28, 2011, five days after his 100th birthday.

Industry mourns the loss of Dr. John A.A. Thomson

Dr. John Ansel Armstrong Thomson, inventor of the SUPERthrive horticultural vitamins-hormones solution, passed away peacefully on November 28, 2011, five days after his 100th birthday. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


 Thomson developed the SUPERthrive formula in 1939. Seventy-two years later, he was still engaged in the daily operations of his company, Vitamin Institute, actively selling worldwide.  As the new President, his daughter Patrisha Thomson will continue her father’s legacy of improving horticultural and agricultural crops with the firm’s sole product.


Holding a Ph.D. in biochemistry, Thomson has collected awards and commendation for his lifetime of work. In 1940, he earned the Science & Industry’s only Gold Medal at the San Francisco World’s Fair Golden Gate International Exposition. In 2006, Dr. Thomson became the first chemist to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lawn & Garden Marketing & Distribution Association. Other honors include Lifetime Environmental Awareness Award from Sustainable Environmental Education and induction into the “Nursery Retailer” magazine’s Hall of Fame.


Throughout World War II, his SUPERthrive was used by five U.S. Government departments (Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force, Navy, Department of Agriculture, and Forest Service) respectively to: transplant mature trees for defense plant camouflage; plant and sustain low-dust turf landing fields; improve soil conditions where salt interfered with plant success; develop vital drug- and oil-bearing plants domestically; and increase production of necessary guayule rubber.

When asked about his primary philosophy of life, Dr. Thomson summed it up saying, “My whole idea is to try to leave the world better off for wherever I touch it.”

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