In Memoriam ~ Ralph Clinton (Clint) Thayer Jr., 87, former TFA President, Director and Membership Chairman, passed away on October 23, 2017 at Cobalt Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Cobalt, Connecticut.
Mr. Thayer was born on May 9, 1930 in New London to Ralph and Eleanor Thayer. He honorably served in the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force.
Mr. Thayer attended New London schools and was active in musical activities. At the age of 16, he led a dance band that played at Ocean Beach Park. He attended the Eastman School of Music, where he met his wife, Connie. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the Air Force Band at Sampson AFB, NY, where he spent four years. After graduating from Eastman in 1956, he served for 16 years in the USCG Band, where achieved the rank of MUCS.
Mr. Thayer taught music in Groton for 11 years and coached many young musicians in the Eastern CT Symphony Youth Orchestra. He performed and conducted extensively, including serving as choir director of the First Baptist Church in New London where he served as deacon and moderator. He was a member of the S.A.R. and active in Masons for many years.
A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Mr. Thayer enjoyed gardening, history, genealogy, and spending time with family.
Mr. Thayer is predeceased by his wife, Constance J. Thayer. He is survived by his daughter, Patricia Backes and her husband Clifford of Moodus; son, Ralph C. Thayer III of S.C.; his two grandsons, Peter M. and his wife, Sara McIvor, of N.J., and Christian C. and wife, Christine McIvor, of N.C.; and his great granddaughters Juliette McIvor of N.C. and Claire McIvor of N.J.
Calling hours were held on Sunday, October 29, 2017 from 2 until 4 PM at Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 13 Lake Ave., Niantic, CT 06357. A memorial service was held on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 2 PM in Flanders Baptist Church, Church Lane and Boston Post Rd., East Lyme. His memorial service included military honors and a Dixieland style funeral procession by the U.S. Coast Guard Band's Dixieland Band....joined by his 35-year-old grandsons on trombone and trumpet. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Flanders Baptist Church Music Fund, 138 Boston Post Road, East Lyme, CT 06333.
Our 2018 Reunion video is in the Members Login section for your enjoyment & we are planning now for 2020!
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The Speedwell (Left) was a 60-ton pinnace that, along with Mayflower, transported the Pilgrims and was the smaller of the two ships. Later, it carried Thomas Thayer’s goods from England to Boston in 1637. Thomas THAYER, son of Richard THAYER, was christened 16 August 1596 at Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England and died 2 June 1665 in Braintree, Massachusetts.
The C.A. Thayer (Above Right) was built by Danish-born Hans Ditlev Bendixsen in his shipyard, located across the narrows of Humboldt Bay from the city of Eureka in Northern California. Bendixsen also built the Wawona (1897) which was dismantled in 2009. The C.A. Thayer was named for Clarence A. Thayer, a partner in the San Francisco-based E.K. Wood Lumber Company.
Click this link to view Harold Huycke’s 1957 motion picture film of C.A. Thayer in 6 parts. There’s over 3 hours of video! Description: Harold Huycke motion picture film of C.A. Thayer (built 1895; schooner, 3m) restoration. Reel 1: Hood Canal to Maritime Shipyard, Tugboat Titan and schooner C.A. Thayer. Reel 2: New stern, stepping masts, painting ship’s name, and Maritime Shipyard to Winslow. Reel 3: Winslow rigging to sea, sternwork, sailing return voyage to San Francisco. Reel 4: Deckhands at work and on rigging, sailing, lowering sails, arriving in San Francisco. Reel 5: Arrival in San Francisco assisted by tugboat “W 150”, visitors aboard and Harold Huycke. Reel 6: Drawbridge, Maritime Shipyard, deckhands at work
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UO Alumni Association
Three generations of Thayers have graduated from the UO, beginning with Brig. Gen. (ret) James B. Thayer '47, and continuing through sons John '81 and Mike '85, and most recently twin grandsons Matthew '11 and Patrick '11.
James B. Thayer
In Memoriam ~ Brigadier General James Burdett Thayer ~
Sadly, our last surviving founder who was elected TFA's first Vice-President December 1992 passed away 16 September 2018 at the age of 96.
March 10, 1922 - September 16, 2018 James Burdett Thayer passed away peacefully with his family at his side Sept. 16, 2018 at his home in Lake Oswego.
Jim lived an extraordinary life of 96 years, with his wife Patricia, his family of five children, six grandchildren, and his strong faith in God. He was a military hero, a successful businessman, and a renowned civic leader.
Jim was born March 10, 1922 in Portland to James and Ruby (Alexander) Thayer. His maternal grandparents raised him on a farm in Carlton where he attended Carlton High School. He became an accomplished editor of the school's newspaper leading to a scholarship at the University of Oregon School of Journalism.
The 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changed his life. Jim left college at the end of his sophomore year and joined the Army. He entered service at the Presidio of Monterey as an infantry private and was selected for Officer Candidate School shortly after induction. He was commissioned a second lieutenant on Oct. 3, 1944 and assigned to a frontline antitank company in the 71st Infantry Division, arriving in Le Havre, France in February 1945.
As a mine platoon commander, Jim led his unit across France and into Germany clearing minefields along the Maginot Line. He was reassigned as a reconnaissance platoon leader with a unit of 16 men, two halftracks, and a Jeep. In April 1945 his platoon engaged German SS troops who were occupying the Austrian town of Horbach. In the battle, his platoon overtook the German soldiers. When reinforcements from his battalion arrived, 800 German soldiers surrendered. For his action, Jim was awarded the Silver Star.
On May 4, 1945, his platoon was hunting for German ammunition dumps near Wels, Austria. As they followed a remote forest road, the platoon began to find dead, dying, and emaciated people. At the end of the road, Thayer and his men discovered and liberated the Gunskirchen Lager concentration camp, part of the Mauthausen-Gusen complex, saving the lives of over 15,000 Hungarian Jewish refugees.
Jim returned to U of O after the war, graduating in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. In 1952 he met his future wife Patricia Cunningham in The Dalles. They were married April 19, 1954 and settled in Beaverton to start a family together. Jim and Pat were founding members of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in 1954. Together they co-founded the J. Thayer Company in 1955, selling office products, furniture, stationary and fine gifts.
Over the years, Jim served as president of the Oregon Historical Society, president of the Port of Portland Commission, and president of the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce. He chaired the Tuality Community Hospital board and Governor Victor Atiyeh's Lower Columbia River Task Force. He served on the Reed College Board of Trustees, and sat on the board of directors for GTE Northwest, the Oregon Graduate Institute for Science and Technology, the Knappton Corp, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission, Evergreen Aviation Museum, Boys & Girls Aid of Portland, and Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
He received honorary doctorate degrees from Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea in 1988, Pacific University in 2009, and received the University of Oregon Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.
Jim retired from the US Army Reserves as a full colonel in 1982 and became Oregon's Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army in 1989. He was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1994. Jim reactivated as Commander of the Oregon State Defense Force and became Brigadier General.
The Brigadier General James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, near completion, will be a fitting tribute to General Thayer with plans to open in 2020. The $20 million museum and historic park will honor all Oregon veterans and citizen soldiers past, present and future.
After 50 years in Beaverton, Jim and Pat sold their home in 2008 and moved to The Stafford Retirement Community in Lake Oswego meeting new friends and enjoying a simpler lifestyle together. Patricia passed in 2014, and Jim has spent recent years at home holding vigil with his family and close friends.
Jim is survived by his sons, Jim, John, Tommy and Mike (Kristy) Thayer; grandchildren Matthew and Patrick Thayer, and Haley, Eli, Tristan and Carson Thayer. Jim was preceded in death by his wife Patricia, and his daughter Anne.
A memorial service to celebrate Jim's life was held at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Beaverton. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the St. Bartholomew's Vicar's Fund, 11265 S. W. Cabot Street, Beaverton, OR 97005.
William Russell Thayer
Will is one of our very early members who was elected December 1992 as TFA's first President. He was ordained for ministry in the Unitarian Christian Church!