Thomas Norman Thayer

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Thomas Norman Thayer

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Thomas Norman Thayer, whose life was aptly represented by his explosive initials, passed away on March 31, 2019.

He was born in Iowa in 1929 and, not long after, revealed his natural entrepreneurial skills. He began his career as a wheeler-dealer as a young boy in Gila Bend, Arizona, selling tamales out of his toy wagon for 5 cents apiece. In high school, he worked as a logger in the Cascades and, after college, coached David Douglas High School’s football team, pulling off an upset to win the State Championship — a point of pride for the rest of his life. He later worked as a cameraman for CBS News, covering the Vietnam War; made wildlife films for Stub Stewart and others; tried his hand at beekeeping in Oregon; became an insurance agent for Equitable; and, finally, an author of books about his beloved Montana.

TNT was a lover of American and natural history. (Also women.) He loved taking his children on long drives, explaining the geology of the surrounding land. He was a patriot whose favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, taking pride in a carefully selected menu. He was an amateur chef who had recipes published, including in the Billings Gazette. He was an avid golfer at Yellowstone Country Club. His children will remember a big man with a big imagination, telling them bedtime stories with a seemingly endless supply of original and colorful characters. Tom himself seemed endless, and to write his obituary is to feel the mortality of us all.

The family would like to thank Nicole Goubeaux and Chelsea Chrisman for taking such good care of him during his final year.

He is survived by his children, Melvin, Maria and John. And preceded in death by his daughter Marcy.

Service to celebrate his life will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at 307 Emerald Drive, Billings, MT 59105.

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4 thoughts on “Thomas Norman Thayer”

  1. Barbara W Scheppele

    I worked with Tom on several of his books. He certainly did have a passion for Montana. Hugs to you all.

  2. Coach Tom Thayer was our football/basketball coach at Maupin High School in Maupin, Oregon in the late 1950’s. He expected the best out of us and it paid off with wins. Many of the lessons I learned from Coach Thayer I later used during my teaching/coaching career and I am forever grateful for that. He loved the Deschutes River and he stopped by one time and gave me a couple of his books about the area. My condolences to his family…he was a one-or-a-kind guy !!

  3. Weppler Family

    Mel, Maria and John, please know you are in our thoughts and prayers with the passing of your Dad. Blessings, the Weppler family

  4. We so enjoyed being able to get to know Tom a bit while he was here at The Springs at Grand Park. Our staff as well as all our residents loved the two book reviews he shared with us. Tom will be remembered as a great story teller! We also all feel blessed to have gotten to know his wonderful children and Miss Katheryn. Please know you are all in our prayers.

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