The Rev. Robert Atherton Thayer of Fairhaven, MA
died peacefully surrounded by family and colleagues on April 5, 2012. He
was one week shy of his 78th birthday.
Rev. Thayer was the
husband of Mary-Ellen Tunney and the son of the late Victor G. Thayer of
Butte, MT and the late Hallie Mae Glover of Charleston W. VA.
Rev. Thayer was born in Charleston W. VA,
April 11, 1934. When his father became a chemist for DuPont in
Delaware, his family bought a gentleman’s farm in rural Newark, DE where
Rev. Thayer attended Tower Hill School in Wilmington. He then went to
Harvard University, 1952-56, 57 Harvard Divinity School, where he
received a BA in History. During his college years he spent many
summers as a fire look out in the Bitter foot Idaho Wilderness. While
at Harvard, Rev. Thayer met his first wife of 34 years Pamela J. Thayer
who passed away in 1991.
From there they ventured to Chicago, IL to McCormick Seminary and Rev. Thayer was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1960.
He served his first church at the 1st Presbyterian Church of
Framingham. It was during the Civil Rights movement that Bob made a
spiritual decision to change his religious affiliation, received his
preliminary fellowship with the UUA in 1967 and became the minister in
Medfield, MA at the First Parish UU, as well as chaplain at the
Billerica prison. In 1978, his family made a life change and moved to
Fairhaven where he was the minister of Fairhaven Unitarian Memorial
Church for 22 years until his semi retirement in 1996. He served a one
year interim ministry at the 2nd Congregational Meetinghouse
of Nantucket, before beginning a 10 year ministry at the Brockton
Unitarian Universalist Church at the age of 70 until his sudden death.
In addition to his wife
of 16 years he is survived by his three children; Stephanie Pires of
Newport, RI, Jenifer Thayer of Los Alamos, NM, and Robert Thayer of
Woodland, CA; two step children, Patrick Whittle of Long I. NY, James
Whittle of Ehime Japan, five grandchildren and countless friends and
colleagues. All were inspired by Rev. Thayer’s energy to minister, heal,
and help the community on many boards and committees. In addition,
Rev. Thayer was an avid sailor, woodworker, woodsman, writer and
A memorial service for
Rev. Thayer will be held at the Unitarian Memorial Church, 102 Green
St., Fairhaven, on April 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM, followed by a reception.
For memorial register go to www.hathawayfunerals.com. Notes of condolence may be sent to Mary-Ellen Tunney at 565 Sconticut Neck Rd, Fairhaven, MA 02719.