Born in Garden City, Minnesota, May 20, 1867, Rolfe Thompson was educated at the State University at Minneapolis and Columbia University. After graduation from law school in 1892, he moved to California and was admitted to the State Bar. He settled in Santa Rosa and went into practice with his father, James M. Thompson, prior to serving as District Attorney of Sonoma County. Thompson was very active politically, and was a delegate to the 1912 Bull Moose Convention at which Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for president. He also served as elector of Herbert Hoover in 1932. From 1920-28, he served as Judge of the Superior Court of Sonoma County, until he was elevated to the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District. Although he retired from the bench in January 1950, Thompson remained active in the legal community, practicing law with his son, Harlan H. Thompson. Justice Thompson died at home in Sacramento, February 18, 1958, at age 90.