Thompson Bradley, Emeritus Professor of Russian at Swarthmore College, passed away at his Rose Valley home surrounded by his family and their love for him. He died of renal disease at age 85.
Thompson was born June 17, 1934 in New Haven, Connecticut, to Donald F. Bradley and Orril (Thompson) Bradley.
Thompson earned his degrees at Yale University and at Columbia University, including study at the University of Moscow, and served two years in the Army during the occupation of postwar Germany. He went on to become an influential and beloved professor of Russian literature and language at Swarthmore College for more than four decades. He was a deeply dedicated and generous teacher who inspired generations of students with his passion for the radical power of literature to expand the compass of the sympathetic imagination and deepen the scope of our humanity. His teaching therefore was inseparable from his lifelong commitment to political activism and social justice.
He was a leader on campus in mobilizing students and faculty against the Vietnam War and later U.S. interventions in Central America, Iraq and Afghanistan, and he remained an active member of Veterans for Peace. Thompson always sought to bridge the divide between the walls of academia and those less privileged, in ways that included teaching in prisons over many years. After retiring from Swarthmore, he continued to offer popular courses in the College's Life Long Learning program.
Thompson is survived by his wife, Anne Noble Bradley, daughters Alexa Bradley, Marya Bradley and Justine Bradley; grandchildren, Francesco and Livia Le Gallais; as well as three of his brothers, Edward M., Orrin T., and Nicolas H. Bradley.
A memorial celebration is planned for later this fall at Swarthmore College. Anyone wishing to make a donation in Thompson's name can do so to Veterans for Peace, About Face Veterans, Democracy Now, Amnesty International, the Women's Law Project or the Audubon Society.