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John A. Thompson

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John A. Thompson Obituary

John A. Thompson 79, of Cranston, died peacefully January 9th surrounded by his family. Born in Reno, Nevada he was the son of the late Jack E. Thompson and Adelaide (Sperduti) Thompson Reeves.

The son of a U.S. Air Force officer, John grew up in Japan, Korea, England, and multiple military bases across the country. It was in Providence where he met the love of his life, Elinor Caito, at Hope High School, where they graduated together in 1962. 

A distinguished military ROTC graduate of Providence College, he was an expert marksman with the Rifle Team and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1966.
John was a U.S. Army Major serving from 1966-1971. He graduated from the Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Vietnam. He later led intelligence units in Italy and Germany and served as a reservist in a JAG unit until 1985.

John and Elinor married in 1968. John earned a Master's degree in Journalism from Boston University, his Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk Law School, and his Master’s of Laws degree (tax) from Boston University. 

He established a law practice in Providence, specializing in tax law and estate planning until his retirement in 1991, practicing in both RI and Mass. He was editor of the RI Bar Journal, and served on many committees, including: William Hall Library, the Cranston Mayor’s Committee for the Quality of Life for the Handicapped, RI Governor’s Commission on Disabilities, and the RI Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

A service-connected disabled veteran, John lived with his family in the Edgewood section of Cranston for over 40 years. He uncompromisingly and uncomplaining lived with Multiple Sclerosis for decades; as his illness progressed, he served as a peer counselor to others with MS and was awarded the National MS Achievement Award by the RI Chapter of the National MS Society for his many contributions. 

He was a longtime member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Edgewood Yacht Club, Providence Art Club, Rhode Island and Massachusetts Bar Associations, Kiwanis Club of Cranston and the Rotary Club of Providence. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.

A Renaissance man, John could do anything: He was an Eagle Scout, poet and history buff who rebuilt car engines, wrote a memoir, and was a lifelong swimmer, skier and sailor. Even in a wheelchair, he took part in sports clinics for disabled veterans. John is best remembered as a quiet force: an inspiration for his remarkably positive outlook and inner strength as he courageously managed his decades-long disease while embracing life, despite challenges, to always find joy in family, travel and new experiences.

John is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Elinor (Caito) Thompson; children, Christina Thompson Bess (Andy) and Alessandro Thompson; grandchildren, Hazel and Nathaniel Bess, and Luca Thompson; brother, Glenn Thompson (Martha); brother in law Carl Caito (Ann); and two nieces and a nephew.

John’s family is grateful for the high-quality care he received for decades through the VA hospitals in Providence and Boston, and from caring home health aides who helped him to live at home as comfortably as possible.

Calling hours: Thursday January 18th from 5:00-7:00pm in The Butterfield Chapel 500 Pontiac Avenue Cranston. The funeral will be Friday January 19th at 11:00am in St. Martin's Episcopal Church 50 Orchard Avenue Providence. Interment in Swan Point Cemetery will be private. The service will be livestreamed at

In lieu of flowers, contributions in John's memory may be made to the Rhode Island Foundation Hope High School Class of 1962 Endowed Scholarship Fund One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 or The MS Dream Center of RI, 300 Toll Gate Rd #104 Warwick, RI 02886.


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January 18, 2024

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The Butterfield Chapel
500 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02910

Funeral Service
January 19, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Martin's Episcopal Church
50 Orchard Avenue
Providence, RI 02906


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