Peter Thompson Born December 8, 1917, in Troy, N.Y., he was the second son of William Leland Thompson and Martha Groome Thompson and grandson of Colonel John Charles Groome, decorated many times in World War I. He attended Groton School and Harvard University, graduating with the class of 1940. He was a member of the Fly Club.
On May 17, 1941, he married Rebecca Caroline, daughter of John S. Ames and Nancy Filley Ames of North Easton, Mass. They raised four children. During World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he served as a second lieutenant gunnery officer in the Pacific Theater with the Seventh Air Force. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal nine times.
After the war, he and his family moved to Easton to raise purebred Hampshire hogs, followed by Charolais cattle.
In 1957, he took up stock brokerage, opening an office for Stein Bros. and Boyce of Baltimore and later for W E Hutton of New York. During that time his interest in waterfowl and shooting sports led to a collection of exotic wildfowl. The spectacle they created drew sporting enthusiasts, artists and photographers from Europe and America, including Sir Peter Scott.
As a member of the Easton community, he was president of the Board of Trustees of the Country School and a member of the Board of Trustees of Bethany House. In 1966, Peter and Rebecca purchased The Bullit House on the corner of Dover and Harrisons street and renovated it. In 1985, they donated the land on the corner of Washington and Dover streets to the town of Easton to create Thompson Park. He also acted as treasurer for all of the campaigns run by Congressman Rogers C B Morton, First District of Maryland.
He retired from brokerage in 1974 and pursued avid interests in Napoleonic history, antiques, travel, shooting, and steeplechase racing. Rebecca died September 23, 1987, after a long illness.
In 1979, Peter turned his enthusiasm to the sport of steeplechase racing. Notable American horses included Baythorne, Dr Fusco, Spin & Whirl, Vast Master, etc. He also had many successes in England and Ireland in Medoc, Joe’s A Boy, Herbert United, Priest’s Rock, Mweemish, Artful Abbott and perhaps the most well- known –Knockhill- a sturdy four miler who won the Midlands Grand National, the New Year’s Day Chase at Cheltenham three times and rain in the Grand National in 1986. Peter nearly won the 1979 Grand National when Redmond Stewart, a fellow American owner, offered to sell him “Ben Nevis” just a few weeks before the race. Stewart reneged on the deal and the horse went on to win. More recent UK/ Irish winners were Bit of Speed, Laundry Lady’s Lad, Just Our Job and The Mighty Montefalco who steered UK Champion Jump Jockey, Tony McCoy to his recorded breaking 1700th win in August 2002 at Uttoxeter.
Peter was an honorary vice president of The Countryside Alliance in the UK (formerly the British Field Sports Society) and became the secretary of the North American Chapter in 1995. In 1996, he helped create the New York Auction, which has become one of the major annual fundraising events of the Alliance.
On November 8, 2000, he married Jacqueline, youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jack Moir of Buckinghamshire, England. They shared many interested and divided their time between Europe and the USA.
In 2005, he received a citation from Governor Robert Ehrlich for his generous contributions as a member of the board of directors of the Talbot Paramedic Foundation. His single contribution in 1985 led to the formation of an endowment, which has been used to offset the cost of training of paramedics serving Talbot County citizens. His enthusiasm and sponsoring contribution to “Operation Save Heart,” a program to place emergency defibrillators in a hundred private and public locations in Talbot, has led to the saving of lived of local citizens.
He was also a member of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club, The Maryland Club, the Tred Avon Yacht Club and The Legal Limit Dove Club. In London, he was a member of Boodle’s
Peter was a member of the congregation of All Faith Chapel, Tunis Mills.
Peter is survived by his second wife, Jacqueline; two sons, Peter S. Thompson, Jr. of Fort Pierce, Fla. And John Thompson of Charlottesville, VA; two daughters, Nancy Thompson and Caroline Benson of Easton; six grandsons; three great- grandchildren; two nieces, Susan Lynd of Rensselaer, NY, and Wistar Thompson of Berwyn, PA; daughter- in- law, Bentley Thompson of Rehoboth Beach, Del.; and son-in-law, Charles F. Benson of Easton.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Rebecca; his brothers, William L. Thompson and John G. Thompson; and his sister, Martha T. Becker.