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In Memory of . . . Robert "Bob" Thayer (1934-2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 12, 2012

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 theology scholar.

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 Notes of condolence may be sent to Mary-Ellen Tunney at 565 Sconticut Neck Rd, Fairhaven, MA 02719.

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