Amherst Magazine

John E. Thompson '51

Deceased February 25, 2010

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In Memory

John, 82, died peacefully on Feb. 25, 2010, with his wife of 55 years, Eleanor (Eleanor H. Ernst, Mount Holyoke ’51), and his family at his side.

Following his graduation from Amherst, he received his dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1957. Thereafter, John opened a family dental practice in Wenham, Mass., in an office attached to the home in which he and Elly lived for 60 years. He was the first dentist in town and took great pride in his profession. He often felt that the best part of dentistry was interacting with his patients and their families. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 25 years ago, John continued to pursue his passions with tenacity and optimism. He was quite at home with language and words and was known for his puns and sharp sense of humor. He appreciated music and good food and wine and loved to travel. In his spare time he cycled, gardened, designed and cast jewelry and created exquisite woodcarvings.

John and Eleanor enjoyed their family camp on Bear Island on Lake Winnipesaukee. There he was in his element—solving maintenance and upkeep problems, hosting friends, rowing in the early morning, sailing, bird watching, cutting and splitting firewood and creating makeshift tools.

At Amherst, John received some publicity early in freshman year from the purple curtains which hung from his Morrow room window overlooking the walkway to Valentine Hall. Passers-by would call up that it was time for the purple curtain resident to join in for dinner! John was a member of the Glee Club and Chapel Choir and Phi Gamm.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, three daughters and six grandchildren.

Everett E. Clark ’51
Raymond B. Jones ’51

 

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