Thompson Bradley

Thompson Bradley, 85, Emeritus Professor of Russian at Swarthmore College passed away at his Rose Valley home surrounded by his family and their love for him. He was born June 17, 1934 in New Haven, Connecticut to the late Donald F. Bradley & Orril (Thompson) Bradley. He died of renal disease. He is survived by his wife, Anne Noble Bradley, daughters Alexa Bradley, Marya Bradley and Justine Bradley, and grandchildren, Francesco and Livia Le Gallais, as well as three brothers, Edward M., Orrin T. and Nicholas H. Bradley. Thompson earned 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 post war Germany. He went on to become an influential and beloved professor of Russian literature and language at Swarthmore College for over 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 lilelong commitment to political activism and social justice. He was a leader on campus in mobilizing students and faculty against the Vietnam War, and later US interventions in Central America, Iraq, and Afghanistan and remained an active member of Veterans for Peace. He always sought to bridge the divide between the walls of academia and those less privileged, including teaching in prisons over many years. After retiring from Swarthmore, he continued to offer popular courses in the College’s alumni Life Long Learning program. A Memorial celebration is planned for later this fall at Swarthmore College. Anyone wishing to make a donation in Thompson’s name could do so to Veterans for Peace, About Face Veterans, Democracy Now, Amnesty International, the Woman’s Law Project or the Audubon Society.

Published in Legacy on September 22, 2019