Thayer Soule, nationally known travel lecturer and author, died in Sun City West, Arizona on Thursday, January 15, 2004. He was 86.His career started at an early age in Rochester, New York when, in 1935, after graduating from high school, he took a banana boat trip to Haiti. With a 16 mm camera and the brand new Kodachrome color film, he made his first travel film, and presented it free to any group expressing interest. While a student at Harvard University, he attended all the programs presented in Boston by Burton Holmes, creator of the travelogue. After each performance, Soule talked with Mr. Holmes backstage. After graduation, he became his associate, a position he held for twenty years, until Mr. Holmes' death.In World War II, Mr. Soule was the Marine Corps' first photographic officer in the field, serving with the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal, and later with the 3rd Marine Division at Iwo Jima, where he won the Bronze Star.For sixty years he produced travelogues in all parts of the world, and presented them in person throughout the United States and Canada, including twenty-eight performances in New York City's Carnegie Hall. He made hundreds of appearances on television, and his videocassettes were distributed nationwide. in 1988 he received the Centennial Award of the National Geographic Society for his contribution to the spreading of geographical knowledge. Gilbert Grosvenor, President and Chairman of the Society, described Thayer Soule as "a prominent and greatly beloved traveler... and one of the best geography teachers I have ever known."In 1983, Mr. Soule moved his lifelong home base from Pittsford, New York, to Sun City West, Arizona, where in 1995 he retired from the platform and devoted his time to writing. He is the author of two books, ON THE ROAD WITH TRAVELOGUES and SHOOTING THE PACIFIC WAR, Marine Corps Combat Photography in World War II.He was born October 9, 1917, in New York City, the son of Karl Thayer Soule and Ruth Northup Soule. His first wife, the former Nancy Parks of Rochester, New York and mother of the children, died in 1978. He is survived by his second wife, the former Ruth Parks of Rochester, New York; and by his two daughters: Robin Mandell of Greenbrae, California and Cindy Thrane of South Burlington, Vermont; his brother, Gardner, resides in Shelburne, Vermont.A memorial service will be held at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 13724 W. Meeker Boulevard, Sun City West at 2:30 P.M. on Saturday, January 24, 2004. Memorial gifts may be sent to Sun Health Hospice, Sun City West Unit, P.O. Box 2015, Sun City, Arizona 85372.Visit this person's Guest Book at www.dailynews-sun.com.
Published in Daily News-Sun on Jan. 21, 2004.