David Leroy Thayer
FARIBAULT – After a lifetime of urging his athletes to push hard through the finish, former coach, teacher, guidance counselor and Faribault Junior High School Dean arrived at the finish line of his life on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. Dave’s life was an illustration of deep faith, personal integrity, compassion, humor and an inspiration to others on how to live life to the fullest. The impact he leaves on his own family and thousands of former students and athletes will not fade with his passing.
Those who were fortunate enough to have met Dave over the years enjoyed hearing his endless jokes, love of storytelling or benefited from his guidance and positive encouragement. He had an ability to relate to people of all walks of life and make them feel special.
Dave was born Sept. 17, 1931, in Minneapolis, to Dr. Ellsworth A. and Helen K. (Gallehue) Thayer. While an infant, his family moved to Truman, Minn., where he spent his elementary years. He graduated from Fairmont High School in 1949. He received his A.A. from Wentworth Military Academy in 1951 and his B.S. from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, in 1954. He has an M.S. in physical education from Mankato State University in 1963 and in 1965 received his secondary certificate of counseling and guidance from MSU and his school administration certificate from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. David enjoyed his employment with the Faribault School District from 1966-1993, Western Military Academy, Alton, Ill., from 1963-1966, and Ceylon Public School from 1958-1963. Prior to this, he sold pots and pans, insurance and cars. Dave had four years of ROTC in the Army and switched to the U.S. Air Force with four years active duty, followed by 27 years in the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He was a member of the Elks Club for 48 years and served as Exalted Ruler in 1974. He was a member of the Masons for 60 years, American Legion for 56 years, a former member of the Moose Lodge, Wentworth Military Academy Letterman Club, University of North Dakota Letterman’s Club, and a member of the Society of the Mayflower Descendents. He was an active member of retired education groups and received the State Educator Award from REAM. Dave married his soul mate, Edna Louise Wilke, on Aug. 30, 1958, at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Truman. They were blessed with 55 years of marriage, three children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Dave was an active part in the lives of his children: son, Scott (Ginger) Thayer of Chelsea, Mich.; daughter, Tamara Thayer of Rochester; and daughter, Brenda (Keith) Eisenschenk of Sartell. He was so proud of his nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and was a major influence in their lives. They are Ashley (Yan) Clermont of Germany; William (Whitney) Thayer and their daughters, Lucy and Ella of Oswego, Ill.; Molly Thayer of Naperville, Ill.; Hannah Thayer of Chelsea, Mich.; Allison Cooney of Rochester; Andrew (Halie) Cooney and sons, Brennan and Jackson of Gulfport, Miss.; Andrea Thayer of Rochester; Mathew and Rachel Eisenschenk of Sartell.
David is survived by his loving wife; children; and grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Susie Wright; brother-in-law, Casper Hanson; sister-in-law, Verna Jennings; cousin, Barbara Tasa; and many nieces and nephews.
David was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Bill Thayer; brothers-in-law, Bill Wright, Delfin Wilke and Dick Jennings; sisters-in-law, Elaine Thayer, Elvira Ernst, and Wanda Wilke.
Visitation is from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Boldt Funeral home in Faribault. A celebration of David’s life will be 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Faribault. Visit boldtfuneralhome.com for information and guest book.