Fond Memories


John loved football.  Before he turned one he would raise his hands above his head smile and giggle and we would all shout “touchdown”.  As he grew older the love of football grew within him.  He had so much fun playing in the backyard and in the youth flag football league.  He would practice and strategize every move on the field, knowing, “If you can touch it .. you can catch it”.  In the last two seasons of football, John memorized the names, mascots and logos of all the NFL teams.  He has spent the last couple months sewing patches of each teams logo with his Aunts to make a blanket for his dad.  We will hold these memories forever.   

Fond Memories
We are grateful to have received so much love through sharing our memories and journey with you and are so humbled by all your condolences.  We ask you to take a moment to share your fondest memories of John with us.  Through a comment on this post, feel free to tell us of times that made you laugh and smile.  Whether memories with JBT, the family and friends, or even reflecting on the memories we have shared through this website.  If you would like to add pictures, please email them to and we will include them in the JBT, Family and Friends Pics photo gallery.




39 thoughts on “Fond Memories

  1. I was lucky to share many special and happy moments with John over the last couple of years!
    As I think back to those special memories, I remember the day I spent with him at Santaland, he was so excited to find each elf and get his ticket stamped,we went on lots of rides and we had so much fun and laughed. When we came to the ride where you drove cars, he and Clara both wanted to go with their Dearest, John being the sweet boy that he was let Clara drive with Dearst and he and I shared a car and we had a great time. I never felted like the consolation prize thats how special a boy John was. I know he is with Dearest Irene at that waterfront property in heaven. All my love to a very special family. Cousin Mary Anne

  2. A few years ago when I visited Alison and Jesse, John was at a stage where he loved doing puzzles. I can remember he had dozens of them all separated out into little zip-lock bags. He would dump one out and then assemble it with such concentration and focus it made me laugh. As he grew older and started dabbling in art it was clear that he had a knack for “putting a picture together” in more ways than one. My nephew is now 3.5 yrs old and loves puzzles also. I think of John every time we do one together. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do one again without thinking of him.

  3. While I do not have a personal story to share, I feel blessed to have had a glimpse into this loving family through this blog.
    I recall a personal video of John seeing Clara after his stay at Judys and telling her she was the most beautiful sister in the world. Such love.

  4. I remember when you(Alison) told me you were pregnant with him! The twinkle in your eye has always stuck in my mind! And all the weird foods you would eat while pregnant! I knew from the beginning that John was going to be the luckiest child to have such amazing parents that loved each other so much that all the love he was going to get was going to be out of this world! You 2 are amazing parents and people!
    I love you guys so much!

  5. Our fond memory was riding in the car with John and Dearest to Belknap Mountain. John was so excited that he could go to camp now, because he was wearing his big boy pants. John was a wonderful conversationalist. We will always remember that day with John.

  6. I remember John ( my husband) and I being at Martha’s Vineyard for a dinner at Alex and Maureen’s. Nancy and Dearest were there and John Bradley. What a joyful boy! He was having a great time laughing and playing. What was clear was how much pleasure he gave to Dearest. He enjoyed life and shared that happiness with all around him.I thought what a gift for Dearest to be with her great grandchild. He looked like an angel but he was just an energetic little boy exploring the world. He felt totally safe and secure. I remember the sounds of happiness.

    Jesse and Allison and family- we have no words. The way your family surrounded him with love and joy was one of the most amazing things I have witnessed. May your love provide some comfort and may you feel our prayers of support in the coming days.
    Beverley and John

  7. One of my favorite memories of John was a few years ago when I first met him at Camp-I-Can. I saw him later that day at the beach and he followed me around and just asked me questions, one after another: “Miss Megan, what’re you doing? Miss Megan, do you like the beach? Miss Megan, will you be at camp again tomorrow?” I know I’m not really supposed to have favorites, but somehow I always wanted to give the Star Student Award to John at the end of the week. Always so kind and helpful!! John was ALWAYS working hard, making all sorts of art – working right through snack time – and he would leave with a whole stack of drawings. The best memories at camp this summer were with John and Clara. Xoxo Miss Megan

  8. I asked Andrew what he wanted to put here, and he immediately shared that he will always remember John playing goalie at soccer practice last year. Andrew stood up to show me how John turned and did a crazy dance for all of us and “shook his bum” for his whole team. He laughed out loud telling me this story and it made me remember how John taught us all how to be in the moment and laugh!

    Sending love to you all. Thinking of you constantly. Love, The Gately’s

  9. One of the last times I saw John we were talking about his art and I asked him if Dearest was getting any better at it and he said ” No she should be a doctor”

  10. I have known Alison since she was just a junior in high school. I took her under my wing and adopted her as my little sister whether she liked it or not! I saw her grow up right before my eyes. I always said I couldn’t wait for her to meet the love of her life and have kids of her own. She’s such a bubbly, happy, optimistic person! And all of this has been proven over and over again over the last ten months. Although I never got to meet John, I fell in love with him from the stories and pictures. Such a good soul! So happy and energetic and determined and artistic and the list just goes on and on. I couldn’t have been more impressed with that little boy! He was definitely given to the right parents and Alison and Jesse gave him the best life that any little boy could ever hope to have! He will forever be in our hearts! There’s no way he can’t be! He has made a HUGE impact on all of our lives and I feel honored that I got to share his story over this last year. I will think of him everyday when I look at his “monster” drawing that hangs on my wall! Love to all! Xoxo

  11. We have so many fond memories of John and most of them involve football! We’ve had so much fun watching many Patriots games at the Thompson house over the years with John, always a highlight of our weekend visits to NH. We’re pretty big Pats fans but John took it to a whole new level! Last May we saw John and Jesse at Nancy’s house on our way into town – John had just finished a football game and was telling us all about his success on the field. He showed us his touchdown dance and told us about talking smack at the line of scrimmage – he said to his opponents: “It’s 3rd down and you’re going down!!!” We’ve told that story to so many people because it described John’s spunk so well! Last December we just happened to be at the same Pats/Browns game as Jesse, Alison, Clara and John and were able to sit with them during the last quarter. We witnessed a miracle comeback win by the Pats that literally went down to the last second of the game. It was amazing to experience and we were so happy to share that miracle win with John!

  12. My favorite conversation with John was while walking back after apple picking with him and some other kids this past September. We spent a good ten minutes strategizing the next youth soccer game, who was on the team, how they play, what position they play, etc. I just loved how intense he was about the game and we decided I would do some reconnaissance for him since his team was playing our teams opponent the next week. He even followed up on that the next time I saw him, he took it all very seriously! He was such a fun boy to talk with and he was such a good soccer goalie. I am so glad to have gotten to know him this past year. Thank you Jesse and Alison for sharing your amazing little boy with us.

  13. I am so blessed that when I bring to mind a fond memory, I am flooded by so many because I have been lucky enough to be part of John’s family. But the story I want to relate is one that gave insight into the spirit — the most amazing soul —- of this most special little person that I was proud to call my grand-nephew. Our Christmas celebrations have always been full of chaos, tons of fun, laughs galore, and just pure happiness to be all together. We started a tradition of doing a Yankee Swap and the fierce competitiveness and just plain crazy bargaining and strategizing became the hallmark of our after dinner Christmas celebration. There would always be one or two presents that everyone wanted. Just two Christmases ago, there was a pair of binoculars that were highly coveted especially by my godchild Jack Connell who was really considered one of John’s big cousins and someone John loved dearly. Well, Jack had them traded away to the Thompson gang and was so sad and disappointed. John came over to me quietly and said that he knew how much Jack really loved those binoculars and he wanted to give them to him and not to keep them. I could barely speak at this gesture of empathy, kindness and generosity from this young child who was not even 6. It takes many years to develop that kind of empathy and kindness…..for some maybe never and yet our little John was a special light in this world. I took him off to a quiet place and told him that his offer of generosity was so deeply touching and I was SO PROUD to be his Aunt. Of course, I have a reputation for always having extra toys around and it made me so happy to tell him that I knew he loved those binoculars and his gift of kindness had a surprise. I had an extra set of binoculars so both Jack and John could each have one. The smile on his beautiful face broke open my heart with happiness. There are indeed special souls who arrive amidst us to teach us lessons. Everyday of his life and most especially over these last 10 months, John taught us a lesson or reminded us what is truly important in life. I will live the rest of my life remembering and implementing those lessons to honor our sweet John and so on the day when I see his beautiful face again, he will be proud of how well he taught me. A blessing in my life and in all our lives. A special beautiful teacher with a shining kind soul. Aunt Maureen

  14. Two summers ago my husband, John came home from work and told me about a house down the street he was working on. He told me about a little boy who lived there that would be coming to kindergarten that September. “YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS KID!”, he said, ” He is so polite and comes down to greet me every morning. He says “good morning John” and talks to me like he’s a grown up. He is so happy and full of ideas and things to keep busy. He is so nice to his sister. There is just something about him. There is really just something that stands out in him. You’ll see. His name is John Thompson.” A few weeks later John joined us in Mrs. Madore’s kindergarten class and I saw exactly what he meant. “I know your husband”, he said (as if they were old college friends).I was so fortunate to have been graced with John’s smile, energy and funloving personality every day. One day he took a nose dive at recess and got up with a mouth full of dirt that I had to wipe from his tongue…(several times…it really was a mouthful) it didnt slow him down, I’m still not convinced he even noticed. That June, I found myself on the playground unintentionally repeating the words of my husband. “YOUR GONNA LOVE THAT KID! There is just something about him.” This time, I was pointing him out to his soon-to-be first grade teacher, Mrs. A. Just yesterday she told me she would never forget that day, just as I will never forget the day I heard those same words from my husband. After reading the prevoius posts, I’m seeing a theme. We all know John to be lovable, unforgetable, a strategizer, conversationalist, focused, and a favorite with the most amazing, inspirational family I have ever seen, and yes, I’ve also seen him shake his bum…more than once:) You have touched our lives and will live in our hearts forever, JBT. ♥ Love, The D’Agatas

  15. When I think of John….A flood of beautiful things come to my mind, but perhaps my favorite way of remembering his sweet face was when it was “glistening.” John always seemed to be running….at the beach, the park, at practice, through the house, in the yard, in the gym, away from his mother:), and even in my dreams of him…with those flushed cheeks and sweaty bangs matted to his forehead, asking his mom for a drink of water so he could run back to play more. My heart fills with comfort now knowing he’s running full speed and I look forward to the day when he comes running towards me again. You will be in our hearts forever sweet baby. We will live our lives fully, with joy in the way that you’ve taught us to. Love you forever.

  16. Pam & I have the pictures John drew of the clown & giraffe on our refrigerator door. It is a place we post all special pictures. Every time we open the door, it makes us smile. It is a wonderful way to start & end the day. We love you John, Pam & Bill

  17. It was an honor to have John be Lilly’s first buddy. I found myself watching Alison and Jesse a lot to see “how to maneuver” as easily and peacefully through the first year as they did so well. In some ways John was like a brother to Lilly in the beginning…especially the way he enjoyed making her scream by teasing and beating up on her! 😉 hey, it made her tough and he sure left a mark in her heart (and sometimes on her). Ha! I know different schools and towns distanced their friendship as they grew, but I know she will always remember her first buddy John. The kids grow so fast, however memories are forever! I could not be more proud of the determination John AND the entire Thompson/Hesko family continued to have throughout this difficult journey. Much love to everyone…

    I think my favorite memory of John was when we camped out in our tents behind Bickford Rd, John and Lilly helped jesse and Kevin with chopping and moving wood and I will never forget how excited and determined they were to help their daddies! 🙂 the smiles were priceless!

    Love and hugs to all, Alyssa Milligan 🙂

  18. One of my favorite pictures I have of John was from when we were at the Island a few years ago, and he put on this headband and led my kids and Clara around the coffee table in a dance/march while the music was blaring. He wore the headband the rest of the day and I just remember giggling every time I looked at him!

    Please know that we are thinking of you every minute and are so thankful that John has always been surrounded by such loving, amazing people. Xoxo
    Kim Cote Koch & Family

  19. My beautiful, sweet John! I fell in love with John the day before school started. GES had an Open House to welcome families. John introduced me to his parents and then whispered in my ear, “My dad is wearing a BEER shirt and mommy MADE him put another shirt over it!!” John made me smile and laugh every single day! John made a difference in my life and in the lives of his classmates. He taught us all about strength, courage and hope. He taught us how to laugh and LOVE life! On the morning that John went to Heaven, my children and I sat in a circle and made a pinky swear. We promised each other to give John an everlasting gift- FOREVER FRIENDS! If we can lie down at night and know that during our day we said a kind word to someone or did a good deed, or made someone laugh or helped wipe away a tear, or hugged an old friend or made a new one, THEN we ALL did something John would have done! We wll make John proud and live our lives the way HE taught us! THANK YOU, JOHN BRADLEY THOMPSON, for being MY teacher! I love you all the way to Heaven and back.
    Jen Anderson (Mrs. A.) XOXO

  20. It was Walt’s (Gup’s) 90th birthday, Russ & I were talking with Walt and John Bradley was following Jess saying “but dad I want another hot dog, I’m so hungry!” Jess’s response was “buddy you’ve already had a hamburger, a hot dog, chips and you want another hot dog!?” Eventually he got his other hot dog as he waited for his dad to cook it.

    Russ & I chuckled at one another – Walt just shock his head!
    An angel that shines so bright…..

  21. I have to write this to you, even though I have met you only once I think at pete and beckys wedding, and never knew john personally, I am filled with enormous feelings of what wonderful parents you are and how you all together have gone through this journey with john and giving him so much love and care for you little boy. he is special because of you and your ten months with him through this terrible disease has been inspiring to all of us watching and listening to all your posts. john is the lucky one to have you and your family. I continue to believe that God has been with you the whole time and will continue to be. let him carry you both through this difficult time. I know this weekend will be terribly hard for so many but for you both the most difficult. I am sending hugs , prayers, and quiet moments to lean on each other. God be with you. love from alias Aunt pearl.

  22. So I ran into the pet store this morning and as I was standing there waiting to be checked out, the song Lean on me came on. I got goosebumps and it made me instantly think of John and all his friends at show case. Made me teary eyed but also made me smile.

  23. I met john for the first and only time when his dad came to have his a/c fixed at the garage on his truck. And he wasn’t feeling so great then. His honesty impressed me and made me laugh!! His spirit and personality was something you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to forget! Him and Clara are great kids!! Great job mom and dad!! The world needs more kids like that! That angel will always be a thought with me!

  24. Thought of you all today and wish we were at home in NH to properly pay our respects to friends whom we love. Your beautiful family is in our hearts and prayers.

  25. I was not blessed to know John other then as Mikey’s classmate. They weren’t not in the same class last year, or this, but he talked very highly of him. I have 2 memories of John- the first was watching him kick butt at goalie our last soccer game, this past fall, taking away the “undefeated” team score! 🙂 The second memory I have was going on the 1st grade field trip this past fall and watching him play, thinking to myself “that is one amazing kid!” We even got to build some cup towers together 🙂

  26. My favorite memory of John was during the Make a Wish send off. The whole school was out in front holding signs for JBT. We were waiting there along with his amazing family to surprise John. I will never forget John skipping out the front door with his teacher Mrs. A holding his hand. Their smiles lit up the entire community of Gilford that day. John hugged all his friends and spent a long time hugging Mrs. Madore before being lifted on top of the limo! He waved to everyone with a beautiful smile on his face and kept saying “thank you”! He looked so happy, excited, grateful and full of life. That is how I will always remember John.

  27. My first introduction to John came a couple of summers ago when our two teenagers, Abby and Jesse, were asked to help out at the Gilford Youth Center with the preschoolers. I would hear stories about this spunky little guy named John and his sister, Clara. Abby and Jesse loved working with John and Clara and getting to know them. My kids would come home from the Youth Center so happy to be part of this community. I remember thinking how great it was that they were connecting with the children of the community because as they were growing up they always loved those counselors at summer camp who threw the ball or taught them to weave a bracelet. When I realized “John and Clara” were Daryl and Brad’s grandchildren – it all made sense. They had spunk and were kind hearted and compassionate…traits that certainly run in the Thompson clan! John will always be a part of this community. His journey over these last twelve months has taught all of us to love a little stronger, and appreciate your friends and family. Alison and Jesse, your family has been gracious to share this journey. In doing so, your son will always hold a special place in our hearts. We feel blessed to have known John! Sending much love to you both and to Clara and Elizabeth.

  28. I feel blessed to have made a connection with John through his artwork and the stories shared on his website. He has touched my
    life with his amazing courage. Sending love and caring thoughts to all of your family.
    Cecile Maranhas

  29. I think you already have guessed what I’m going to say… I have seen a lot of kiddos with loose teeth. But I have NEVER seen a kid so EXCITED as John when those teeth FINALLY got loose! I hope the tooth fairy knows how lucky she was to get to swap those special pearly whites. And our family is so lucky to have shared friendship with such an amazing buddy! I hope the all the love from our little town warms you as you adjust to the new normal.

  30. I remember last year in kindergarten we began writing longer stories. John wrote a story about playing flag football up in Meredith. He was sharing his story with me when we came to the line, “The grown-ups were mad.” I told John I was confused because his team won the game, why would the grown-ups be mad? Well John then went into details about how his team beat the grown-up “mom” team. His eyes sparkled as he told details of how his team won. I was smiling and giggling at his enthusiasm. Another classmate was on John’s team and he came over and they both were sharing victory stories. Well the next week , Alison and the other child’s mom came in to volunteer. I made sure John shared his story with them. Both moms were not as enthusiastic about the story as John, it was a bitter lose. I guess they take flag football very serious. I can see where John gets his competitive nature because Alison is the same way.
    I was truly blessed to be part of John’s story as his kindergarten teacher. He taught me more than I ever did him and they are lessons I will cherish for my lifetime. Thank you for the opportunity to be his teacher.

  31. I asked little Harry what his favorite memory of John was and he replied without hesitation “cake launching period….he was the best at it”… I smiled because the cake launching incident happened just recently during Johns classroom birthday party and it reminded me of just how fun and free spirited john was right up to the end… john’s physical appearance changed but his demeanor never waivered. Harry will always remember how funny John was in class and how they always laughed together and i will always remember John running around Gilford beach simply laughing and playing with friends oxox

  32. One of my favorite memories is actually a series of moments when I was a volunteer in Mrs. Madore’s kindergarten class last year. My volunteer time always coincided with work jobs and snack break. It was always fun to see John go to his backpack and grab his brown paper bag. On the outside of the bag, Alison had always written a color to coincide with what was inside. It was a special little game for John and his buddies at school: “Guess what’s inside the bag.” For example, one day it said “Orange” and he sat there with his classmates and they sort of debated what might be in the bag. “Maybe it actually is an orange? Or….Carrots! I think carrots! Or how about Goldfish?!” It was always fun to see the twinkle in John’s eye when his guess was correct. “I knew it!” he’d say. I admired this simple and fun way that Alison stayed connected with John, even when they were not together. A connection that I know will remain, forever.

  33. My first memory of John was at our Kindergarten screening at GES. As we all crammed our way into that small, intimidating conference room, other kids were shy and apprehensive (my own was hiding under the table). John, of course, was smiling, talking, eager, and clearly ready to tackle whatever kindergarten would involve. I think he gave everyone in that room some extra confidence. My most recent memory of John is watching him on the school bus. During this past fall, I occasionally saw his blond head in one of the windows when Ben got off. One time he looked at me, smiled, and waved. I smiled and waved back. It was very sweet, and an image that has been continuously recurring in my mind. Another memory comes from Ben. While we were driving the other day, Ben remarked out of the blue, “John was a really good soccer goalie. The only reason we lost our last game was because he was playing goalie. Did you know that Mom!? ” I smiled at the small ways that he and many other classmates must be grappling with this loss- making sense of their emotions by recalling their fond memories of a very special guy. I hope all of these memories bring you smiles and peace.

  34. Though I’ve know Nancy and her girls for some time, I came to know and greatly admire John through this web site. To say he was a very special and well loved boy is, of course, an understatement to those who knew him. I am in awe of the circle of love he engendered.
    The outpouring of love and concern that came from family and friends was truly inspiring. Allison and Jesse, you and your incredible family have touched us all with the way you have given so profoundly. What a testimony to your beautiful son.

  35. Confession…At 37, John made me feel like one of the cool kids;) It was just this past Halloween. He was marching in the GES parade just as proud as ever in his Lederhosen. I hadn’t seen him in months. As I watched him walk by he turned in my direction with an enormous smile and a wave. WAIT!!He couldn’t be that excited to see ME! It was as if he were a movie star and I was just one of his many fans in the crowd (the story of his life, there was no escaping the Gilford Paparazzi, what was a boy to do?:) This was a red carpet event and I had hit the big time to elicit such a smile from such a special little boy. It made my day and I’ll never forget that smile:)

  36. I was lucky enough to babysit John and Clara. One night after Clara had already gone to bed, John and I were snuggling on the couch. Trying to bid for a few extra moments to stay up, John looked up at me and said “you’re the
    Most beautiful girl.” Obviously, this worked and we snuggled for at least an extra half hour. Come to find out, Jesse had been teaching John his ways of wooing the ladies- well, they work!! Xoxo


  38. I don’t know you personally but I have been thinking of your family and praying for a while. Even though I have never met you I feel like I have known John his whole life. I was lucky enough to grow up a patient of Nancy’s and when I had my own children I knew who I wanted to be their doctor. My daughter and John were born exactly one day apart so whenever I brought one of my three children in Nancy and I would compare notes on what the kids were doing. I knew when John said his first word, took his first steps, said his first word. It was always “my John this and my John that”, I loved hearing John stories.
    I’m truly sorry to hear of his passing.

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