William Foss Thompson, 93, son of the late William Laban Thompson and Mildred Foss Thompson of Boston, Massachusetts, and a more than half century summer resident of Southport, Maine, died June 12, 2020 due to complications from a fractured hip sustained during a fall at home in Boston. June 12 was also his 66th wedding anniversary with the late Juliana Wilson Thompson who died on April 11, 2020 due to lung failure after contracting COVID-19.
Born Aug. 15, 1926, Bill was a 1944 graduate of Winchester, Mass. High School, a 1950 graduate of Harvard College (B.A. history) and a 1952 graduate of the Harvard Business School (M.B.A.). In between his schooling he fulfilled his military duty, first at the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine from 1944 to 1946, where his long love affair with the seacoast of Maine began, and second at U.S. Naval Intelligence located at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. from 1952 to 1954. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Navy.
In 1954 Bill began his career at the First National Bank of Boston (later named Bank of Boston), starting out in the management training program and eventually rising through the ranks to the position of executive vice president in charge of the Special Industries Division, specializing in innovative financing structures for the publishing, motion picture, sports franchises and other entertainment industries. In 1979 Bill persuaded then Bank of Boston’s chairman, the late Bill Brown, that the bank should get into the emerging venture capital business by setting up First Venture Capital Corp, which became a subsidiary of the Bank’s holding company. Bill became the head of that entity. In 1983, Bill left the bank and founded Boston Ventures Limited Partnership, taking with him many employees of First Ventures. Many of his clients from his Special Industries days also joined him, all of whom contributed significantly to the first and subsequent successful funds of Boston Ventures. Bill retired from Boston Ventures in 1996.
Throughout his career and during his retirement, Bill remained passionate about making a significant difference in the lives of others and of creating educational and career opportunities for those without means. He served on many charitable boards including: the William F. and Juliana W. Thompson Charitable Foundation, the Trinity Boston Foundation (now known as Trinity Boston Connects), the College of Wooster, Ohio, the Tufts New England Medical Center, Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses and Sherrill House Nursing Home in Jamaica Plain, Mass., the latter of which he was a founding trustee. Bill also was a vestryman for 20 years at Trinity Church in the City of Boston, twelve years of which were served as Senior Warden. Additionally, Bill established the William F. and Juliana W. Thompson Scholarships at Harvard University, as well as scholarships to Camp Kieve in Damariscotta. Maine to honor his late grandson, John Fish.
Bill was predeceased by his wife and his only sibling, brother Don, as well as by his grandson, John Fish.
He is survived by his three children: Don Thompson of Cambridge, Mass., Alexandra Thompson of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Margaret Thompson of Manchester, Mass. and a grandson, Timothy Fish of Manchester, Mass.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services for Bill will be scheduled at a later date. A private interment of his ashes will be in the family plot in Lincoln, Mass. Gifts in Bill’s memory may be made to Trinity Boston Connects, 206 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116.