Thompson Bradley

  • Born: June 17, 1934
  • Died: September 22, 2019
  • Location: Rose Valley, Pennsylvania

Cavanagh Patterson Family Funeral Homes

43 E. Baltimore Ave
Media, PA 19063
Tel. (610) 566-3400

Tribute & Message From The Family

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 of his brothers, Edward M., Orrin T. and Nicolas H. 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 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 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 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 Women's Law Project or the Audubon Society.

Condolence & Memory Journal

A deep loss of a great person. Tom impressed with his passion for literature, and his commitment to social change through action. Although he loved discussion and debate, he went well beyond talk in acting on his beliefs, a rare quality that too few of us can claim. My heart goes out to Anne, Alexa, Manya and Justine, who must be feeling this deep absence of such an admirable man.

Posted by Dorothy Louise - Bronx, NY - Friend   October 04, 2019

My deepest condolences go out to Tom's family and all those who loved him. He was a genuinely nice person, and a pleasure to work with.

Posted by Cathy Cinquina - Swarthmore College, PA   October 03, 2019

I was one of his students in the early 90's. He had a profound effect on me. It wasn't because of his knowledge or his politics, but because of the genuine respect and kindness he showed me. I won't forget him.
Caleb Olin
Louisville, Kentucky

Posted by CALEB OLIN - Louisville, KY - Student   September 27, 2019

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Tom's humanity, grace, and gentleness complemented his passion and intellectual honesty beautifully.