David Leroy Thayer

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David Leroy Thayer

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 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, 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 1966-1993, Western Military Academy, Alton, Ill., 1963 to 1966, and Ceylon Public School 1958 to 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 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, Germany; William (Whitney) Thayer and their daughters, Lucy and Ella, Oswego, Ill.; Molly Thayer, Naperville, Ill.; Hannah Thayer, Chelsea, Mich.; Allison Cooney, Rochester; Andrew (Halie) Cooney and sons, Brennan and Jackson, Gulfport, Miss.; Andrea Thayer, Rochester; and Mathew and Rachel Eisenschenk, 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 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Boldt Funeral home in Faribault.

A celebration of David's life will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Faribault.

Visit boldtfuneralhome.com for information and guest book.

Funeral Home
Boldt Funeral Homes
300 Prairie Avenue
Faribault, MN 55021
(507) 334-4481
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Published in The Post-Bulletin on Feb. 12, 2014
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