Patricia M. Thayer, 86, of Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg died on Aug. 2, 2013. Born in Louisville, Ky., she had a particularly close and loving relationship with her grandfather, William Hammond. He influenced and motivated her interest in fine arts, history, traveling, large families and genealogy. During the Depression, her father, Paul Martin, moved to Washington. She graduated from Academy of Holy Cross in Kensington, Md., and then attended both the University of Maryland and Vassar College. Her education was interrupted prematurely by her marriage to then Lt. Raymond Thayer, a 1946 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. It was rumored that the marriage was partially motivated by her desire to travel and get an early start on a large family of children. Both wishes were realized by accompanying her husband to occupation duty in Japan and the birth of her first two daughters while there. She acquired an appreciation for Japanese fine arts, furnishings, and china. With her husband sent to the Korean "police action," she returned to the U.S. Reunited for several duty stations in the U.S. during the 1950s, she gave birth to daughter No.3 and twin sons. The long-hoped-for assignment in Germany arrived as did daughter No.4, her final child. She focused on raising her children and pursuing her interests in European culture. Service life continued 15+ years with assignments both stateside and overseas and much traveling. She made many friendships in Europe. In the 1960s, she was appointed president of the German-American Wives Club in Wiesbaden/Mainz, Germany, as well as other social appointments of import. This gave her a lifelong feeling of pride and pleasure as a result of the friends she acquired and cultural education afforded. A major ambition was to provide the best possible education for her children. Despite being challenged by "nomadic" Army life (33 different places in 30 years) and limited financial resources, she nonetheless secured educational opportunities for all her children to attend private schools abroad and in the U.S. and top university level education for several of them. Upon her husband's retirement from the Army and settlement in the Washington/Annapolis area, she realized a long-delayed dream to resume her formal education by her attendance at Mt. Vernon College. Her course work in Renaissance art history included a lengthy period of study in Venice, Florence, and Rome. Mrs. Thayer's special knowledge, talents, and skills in interior design, the arts, gardening, antiques, literature, and English history were recognized by her many friends, children, professors, and fellow students. She is survived by her loving husband of 66 years, retired Army Col. Raymond E. Thayer; 5 of her 6 children: Anne Callihan and husband, Gary, Susan Thayer, retired Navy Capt. Richard Thayer and wife, Laura, Brendan Thayer, and Sarah Love and husband, Jim; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. The funeral will be at Arlington National Cemetery, day/time to be announced.
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Published in Virginia Gazette from Aug. 6 to Sept. 5, 2013