The Rev. Canon James P. Dalton-Thompson, 60: Rector of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

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FALMOUTH — The Rev. Canon James P. Dalton-Thompson, 60, Rector of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Falmouth since 2005, died Wednesday, Dec. 1, in a New Hampshire hospital after a short battle with cancer.

Father Dalton-Thompson had a remarkable impact on the Saint Mary community in his five short years there. His profound faith, wit, unconditional love, and “joie de vivre” graced the lives of all who knew him.

He was born in Detroit, Mich., Oct. 3, 1950, a son of James Thompson and Shirley Dalton.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and receiving a master of arts in French from Middlebury College, he graduated from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., with a master of divinity degree.

Fluent in French, he was one of the translators and editors of “Le Livre de la Prière Commune,” the French-language edition of The Book of Common Prayer.

Prior to coming to Saint Mary’s in 2005, he served in churches throughout New York and Connecticut.

In October 2009 he was appointed Canon Precentor to the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland, and was very active in diocesan affairs, including the committee on Holy Orders.

He was deeply committed to ministry outside the parish halls. He was a dedicated volunteer at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen, ardently supported the church’s  “souper supper,” a bi-weekly free community dinner, and also worked on projects for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland.

A strong believer in ecumenism, he participated in the Falmouth Ecumenical Network, working closely with other ministers in town.

Deeply interested in music, he was a founding board member of the St. Mary’s Schola, a professional music ensemble.

Known as Father James, his ever-present smile, constant enthusiasm, and keen mind, along with his incredible ability to learn everyone’s name upon first greeting, endeared him to his parishioners.

He loved children, and, although he had none of his own, he had 19 godchildren. From writing many special children’s Liturgies, to donning a heavy space suit to appear as “Commander James” at the Galactic Blast Vacation Bible School, he always took a special interest in working with young people.

His hobbies included gardening, cooking gourmet meals for guests, playing the piano and organ.

Survivors include his sister, Holly Molinaro, and her husband, Al, of New Hampshire; his niece, Alyssa, of New Hampshire, and nephew, Rocky, of Nevada; and a cousin, George Metelski, of Detroit, Mich.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland on Monday, Dec. 6, followed by committal in the churchyard at St. Mary’s in Falmouth.

Memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity, International, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709 or to Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angle Canyon Road, Kanab, UT, 84741.

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