James (Jim) H. Thayer, age 89, of Oshkosh, WI, passed away on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

Born in North Fond du Lac to James A and Goldie F (Bellmer) Thayer on June 16th, 1929.

Jim attended a one room school house on County Rd FF. He then attended Presentation school and graduated from North Fond du Lac High School in 1947. Throughout the summers of his high school career, Jim worked at a restaurant in Glencoe, IL. He decided to return to the restaurant after his high school graduation. After several months he returned to the Fond du Lac area and worked for Kiekhaefer Mercury Marine. After three years he enrolled at Ripon College, graduating in 1954 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and as a distinguished military graduate from ROTC. He entered the Regular Army as a 2nd lieutenant at Basic Infantry Officers School in September of 1954 in Fort Benning Georgia.

On December 28, 1954, while on Christmas leave he married his sweetheart of 8 years, Phyllis E. Leu at Presentation Church. He deployed to Augsburg, Germany where Phyllis joined him a couple months later. His assignment to the 5th infantry division ended in September 1955 and he was assigned to the 12th A.I.B. of the 2nd armored division in Worms, Germany.

Their first son was born in 1956. Jim was promoted to 1st lieutenant in November and was transferred to the 2nd Armored Division headquartered in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. A second son was born in 1957. Jim resigned his commission and the family returned to the United States.

In November 1957 he joined the Speed Queen Company in Ripon, WI. His first field assignment was as a District Sales Manager for the Omaha territory where he and his dealer organization developed the highest market share in the company. While living in Nebraska City two more sons and a daughter were born.

In 1965, based on his outstanding performance, he relocated to the World Headquarters in Ripon, WI where he became the assistant to the VP of Sales. Jim spent the next 18 years in Ripon holding various positions such as a Distributor Sales Manager, Manager of New Product, National Sales Manager, Manager of Distribution Development and VP of Field Sales. In November of 1983, Jim asked to be reassigned to the position of Regional Sales Manager in Scottsdale, AZ.

Upon his retirement in March, 1991 Speed Queen rededicated its world training center to Jim and the late Jim Williams. Both men were credited with developing and implementing the Speed Queen sales training program as well as influencing the design of the facility.

After Jim retired he and Phyllis enjoyed several years in Arizona before returning to Wisconsin to reside in Oshkosh. Upon relocating back to Wisconsin they submersed themselves with endless family functions and events. Additionally, his passion for history and aviation led him to become a docent at the EAA museum in 2000, where he led guided tours for 15 years.

Jim’s love of Country and his career was evident in the way he lived his life. But, what he was most proud of was his marriage and family. Jim always said to Phyllis, “we sure had a wonderful life!”

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Phyllis Thayer; his beloved children, Ron (Maureen) of Pickett, WI, Jeff (Jamie) of Bellingham, WA, Stuart (Sue) of Pickett, WI and Susie Smits of Oshkosh, WI. Sister Bonnie Kostuch of Fond du Lac, WI, daughter-in-law Toni Thayer of Ripon, WI, as well as several nieces and nephews.

He is further survived by his adoring grandchildren, Katie (Justin) Poeschl, Christie Thayer, Daniel Thayer, Lindsay (Micah) Ramsey, Alaina Thayer, Jessie (Rob) Strange, Allie (David) Hielke, Lucas Thayer, Shannon Smits and Skylar Smits. Great Grandchildren, Jude, Eva, Lola, Kayla, Carter, Harper, Weston, Gavyn and Avery. Jim is remembered by his many close cousins and friends.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents James and Goldie Thayer, his beloved son Brad and son-in-law Jerry Smits; sister Nancy Anderson; brother-in-law Harry Anderson; niece Jackie Anderson; nephew Mike Roloff; father and mother-in-law Paul and Jessie Leu; brother-in-law Norman Leu and sister-in-law Geraldine Gerber Leu.

A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday July 14, 2018 at 11 am in St. Raphael’s Catholic Church with the Reverend Matthew Rappl officiating. Full military honors will be held after the service at the church. Family and friends may call at Fiss & Bills Funeral Home (865 S. Westhaven Drive Oshkosh, WI) on Friday July 13, 2018 from 4 pm until 6 pm and also at the church on Saturday morning from 10 am until the hour of services.