Sarah A. Thompson

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Service Information
Guare & Sons Funeral Home - Montpelier
30 School Street
Montpelier, VT
Memorial service
Saturday, Jun. 2, 2018
12:00 PM
The Unitarian Church of Montpelier

EAST MONTPELIER - Sarah Ann "Sally" Holden Thompson, formerly of Templeton Road in East Montpelier, died on March 20, 2018, at Barre Gardens, a nursing home in Barre, Vermont. Sally was born Aug. 10, 1935, at Mary Fletcher Hospital in Burlington, daughter of Polly Bullard Holden and A. John Holden Jr., who later served as the state of Vermont commissioner of education.
Sally attended public schools in East Montpelier, Middlebury and Montpelier. Her seventh and eighth grades and senior year of high school were at the Harley School in Rochester, New York, where her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Campbell Bullard, her uncle, Charles "Sam" Bullard, and other members of Polly's family lived. She spent her junior year of high school in Italy under the care of a maternal uncle, Donald "Mike" Bullard. She then attended Radcliffe College, graduating cum laude with a major in history in 1957.
After college, she worked for members of her Uncle Mike's extended family in France until she was hired as social secretary to Mrs. Seldon Chapin, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Iran, and moved to Tehran. When the Chapins left that post, Sally worked at a beggar's orphanage on the outskirts of Tehran. Later, after receiving a master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, she taught history at high schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Rochelle, New York. She then served in the Peace Corps in Ibadan, Nigeria, where she taught at the teachers' college and authored a textbook, "The Foundations of Modern Civilization," for her students there. Upon her return to the U.S., she worked for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., Upward Bound in Boston, Massachusetts, and Planned Parenthood of Vermont in Burlington.
In December of 1970, Sally went with a group on a camel trek in the Hoggar Mountains of the Sahara where she met her future husband, John Fielding Thompson, of Hamilton, Ontario, and Birmingham, England. They married in 1979 and lived in Toronto, where Sally worked for Community Living Toronto (formerly the Toronto Association for the Mentally Retarded), an association advocating for people who have an intellectual disability. Sally and John traveled extensively in Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. After John's death in 2005, Sally returned to the family home on Templeton Road.
Sally loved family, friends, music, art, books, travel and adventure, a hearty laugh, and sought generously to make a positive difference in other people's lives and the world.
Sally is survived by two sisters, Elizabeth (Bonnie) Carter, of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, and Martha Holden, of Montpelier; two nephews, Norman Carter, of East Montpelier, and Loring Holden, of Providence, Rhode Island; two nieces, Catherine Carter, of San Francisco, California, and Jessica Holden Sherwood, of Providence, Rhode Island; three grandnieces and one grandnephew; sisters-in-law Josie Thompson Church, of Oxford, England, and Janet MacLeod, of East Montpelier; and brother-in-law Walter Ford Carter, of Newton, Massachusetts. Her brother "Spike" (John Coleman Holden) predeceased her.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Barre Gardens for their loving and compassionate care of Sally in her later years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any good cause. A memorial service will be held at The Unitarian Church of Montpelier at noon on Saturday, June 2.
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Published in Times Argus on Apr. 5, 2018
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