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Jeffrey Thompson

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Published in on August 31, 2023

Jeffrey William Thompson died of complications from ALS on August 26, 2023.

Born on April 14, 1958 to Kay and William Thompson, Jeff and his sister Kristi were raised in Potsdam, NY. Jeff received his primary education at Congdon Campus School and Potsdam Central High, briefly attended Earlham College, and completed his undergraduate degree at SUNY Potsdam.

Jeff had a keen eye. An ardent photographer in his youth, he always carried a camera and spent hours processing film. He enjoyed sculpting, working mostly in metal.

In the early 1980’s Jeff moved to Somerville, MA, where he worked at a photo processing lab. Jeff had a sense of humor; he once anonymously sent a photo of a group of young people to a friend. On the back was written, “Love from the gang, June, Todd, Jerry and Margaret”. Not recognizing the names or faces, his puzzled friend showed the card to another mutual friend and asked if they looked familiar. The second friend said, “No, but that looks like Jeff’s handwriting”. Jeff later admitted to the prank.

After working at the lab for a time, Jeff got a summer photography job at Philips Academy. He liked to say, “My job is shooting preppies”.

Jeff’s next job was at a school for handicapped youth in the maintenance department, where he helped care for and improve the school building and five satellite residences. It was here that Jeff met Susan Green, one of the teachers. She lived near Jeff and would often ride to work with him. That relationship grew into their marriage of 32 years. They made Arlington, MA their home.

Jeff and Sue have one son, Eric. Jeff and Eric have been called kindred spirits, and have always had a very special bond. When Eric was born, Jeff stayed home to care for his new son while Sue went back to work. Eric returned that love by playing an integral role in Jeff’s care during the last two years of Jeff’s life.

Jeff went on to spend his working life as a carpenter, specializing in residential remodeling. He worked for many years at Olive Square Kitchens where he honed his craft and has been called ‘one of the fastest and most accurate cabinet installers’. He left Olive Square to work independently, and for Gilman Guidelli & Bellow Custom Builders.

Jeff noticed that his hands would not do what he expected of them and sought the reason why. In July of 2021, he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This progressive neurodegenerative condition can eventually affect mobility, speech, eating, and breathing. There is no cure.

The love and support of family, friends, and the community were invaluable to Jeff and Sue as they navigated the challenges of Jeff’s illness. Compassionate Care ALS, a non-profit organization based in Falmouth, MA, also provided tremendous assistance.

Jeff was a gentle and decent human being. He adored his family, and delighted in time spent with friends. He loved the natural world, listening to music, reading, hearing or telling a joke, sharing a meal, a strong cup of coffee, a glass of wine or decent scotch, and an occasional cigar or cigarette. He joked that there are cigars for every occasion, such as the “Talkin’ to the Administration” cigar.

In addition to his beloved wife Susan, son Eric, and Eric’s partner Lara, Jeff leaves behind his sister Kristi, a niece and nephews, and many friends. Jeff’s sweet presence will be missed.

Donations in Jeff’s memory may be made to Compassionate Care ALS, P.O. Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574, or online at:

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