Walton E. Thompson
Walton Earl “Gup” Thompson, 96, died on the evening of Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton, following a brief illness.
Walton was born in Winchester on Sept. 29, 1922, to Marguerite and Alexander Thompson. He attended Winchester’s Thayer High School where he met Betty Stone, who became his lifelong sweetheart.
In August, 1943, Walt enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, training to fly the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber. A few months later, Betty traveled cross-country by train to meet Walt in California and the young couple married at a seaside church in Laguna Beach before Walt returned to active duty. His squadron, Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 341, was based on Bougainville Island in the South Pacific and Walt ultimately flew more than 60 missions over the Solomon Islands. His war citations included the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal, with two gold stars for “heroism and extraordinary and meritorious achievements in aerial flights during operations against the enemy in the South-West Pacific Area.”
After the war, Walton returned to Winchester and for many years he and Betty ran the Sheomet Farm, a dairy farm with 60 registered Jersey cows and a 2,000 bucket maple syrup operation. In 1958, seeking a respite from the farm life, Walton and Betty moved with their two young sons, Brad and Brian, to beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee and bought the Bright Horizons cabin complex on Dockham Shore Road. The spot, where the family had earlier vacationed, was renamed the Thompson Cottages and Walt and Betty ran the cabin complex for close to 15 years.
Walton loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. Ice-out on Winnipesaukee was always met with anticipation so he could launch the boat and get on the lake to troll for salmon. With his sons and a few friends he built a cozy hunting camp in Clarksville in the early 1970s. The camp was the site of countless hunting trips with close buddies from the Gilford area and Gup loved the early-morning deer hunts, the evening poker games, and “running rabs” with the series of beagles he kept over the years, including one Snoopy and several Winnies. Gup’s affection for Coos County, and beagles, was passed on to certain of his children and grandchildren.
As a devoted gardener, Walton often had beans, peas and tomatoes to share from his bounteous beds at the home he and Betty shared in later years, their second on Dockham Shore. He kept a meticulous yard, tending flower beds and berry bushes. He brought his grandchildren ice fishing across the street on the frozen lake and for excursions in the nearby fields and woods, where he taught them to tread silently, listening for deer, rabbits and other wildlife. He always had an Oreo or two ready for young visitors and liked to relax with a ritual “snap” and Busch beer in the early afternoon.
Walt spent the last four years of his life at the New Hampshire Veterans Home, where he received attentive care and enjoyed regular outings as well as ample meals, as he frequently told visitors.
He was predeceased by his wife, Betty, who died in 2011, to whom he was a loving and devoted husband, as well as by his older sister, Evelyn. A younger sister, Caroline, died in childhood. He was also predeceased by a dear great-grandson, John Bradley Thompson, who died in 2014.
He is survived by his two sons and daughters-in-law, Brian and Diane Thompson of Deerfield and Brad and Daryl Thompson of Gilford and Stewartstown. Also mourning Gup are Cassie Thompson and Todd Flemings and great-granddaughter, Claire Flemings of Hampton; Berin Thompson of Deerfield; Kalee Thompson and Dan Koeppel and great-grandsons, Otto and Laszlo Koeppel, of Sandwich; Becky and Pete Doherty of Gilford; Jesse and Alison Thompson and great-granddaughters, Clara and Elizabeth Thompson, of Gilford; and Abby and Jason Fopiano and great-granddaughter, Roslyn Fopiano, also of Gilford.
There will be no calling hours.
A graveside service will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at noon at the Raymond C. Wixon Memorial Garden, 19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations in Gup’s memory be made to the Belknap County Sportsmen’s Association, P.O. Box 214, Laconia, NH 03247.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia NH is assisting the family with the arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.