Emily S. Thayer, 1947-2013

Teacher cheered many with notes, visits


Emily S. Thayer, 65, a longtime Toledo high school teacher of English and reading whose avocation was cheering up people with cards and visits, died Saturday at Toledo Hospital.

Mrs. Thayer suffered a heart attack the previous week and died from its complications, said Tom Thayer, her husband of 44 years.

Mrs. Thayer was born in Toledo on Dec. 22, 1947, to John and Ardis Patricia Nally. She was a 1965 graduate of Start High School, where she first began her teaching career in the fall of 1969 after graduating from Ohio University.

She later earned her master’s degree in reading from the University of Toledo.

She taught at Scott and DeVilbiss high schools and she returned to Start toward the end of her career, finally retiring five years ago after 35 years, her husband said.

Mr. Thayer described his wife as a tough teacher who demanded a lot from her students.

“If you didn’t do the work, you didn’t get the grade,” he said.

But, he said, “she had a great deal of laughter and fun” with her students as well.

“Once the kids learned they had to perform, they enjoyed her classes,” he said.

Mrs. Thayer’s interests in teaching extended to membership in the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Chapter E Toledo, an organization that offers encouragement and support for women.

She was an avid reader, particularly mysteries and belonged to several book groups for women, her husband said.

She also participated in numerous study groups at the churches she belonged to, including Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Sylvania UCC, and most recently at McCord Road Christian Church.

The congregation of the McCord Road church recently sent her and three other members to become leaders in the Stephen Ministry, a program that offers one-to-one care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, her husband said.

She also reached out to others by sending cards to people who were ill, or made phone calls to them or visited them in hospitals, her husband said.

Mr. Thayer said her “card ministry” touched thousands of people.

“We kept the post office busy and ... Hallmark in business,” her husband said.

After she retired from teaching, she had more time to amplify her work of sending cards and paying visits to people who were grieving.

She is survived by her husband, Tom, and her brother, John Nally. She and her husband had no children.

Visitation will be from 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave.

From 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday an informal greeting will be held at McCord Road Christian Church at 4765 McCord Rd. in Sylvania, followed by a Celebration of Life service.

Memorial contributions are suggested to McCord Road Christian Church.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.