Arthur Ralph Thayer, 91, of Grayling, Michigan, passed away on March 8, 2017.
Arthur was born in Caledonia, Michigan, on September 15, 1925, a son of the late Lennah (Vaughn) and Burt Owen Thayer.
Art graduated from Chesaning High School in 1943. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943. Art was a Seabee and served his enlistment in Hawaii. After discharge, he attended CMU. While at CMU, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve and later retired as a Lieutenant Commander in 1974.
He married Beatrice Austin on September 10, 1950. They were married for 25 years before she passed away in 1975. Art began his teaching career in Turner, Michigan in 1950, where he served as the principal, teacher, janitor, and bus driver. He moved to Grayling in 1956, where he taught high school and coached until 1964, when he became the first principal of the new elementary school. He later returned to teaching and retired in 1981. He was the class sponsor of the class of 1962, to whom he remained lifelong friends.
Art married Mary Jane Bates in October 17, 1979; they were married for 36 years before she preceded him in death in 2015.
Art enjoyed traveling, had served on the State of Michigan Indian Commission, and was an active member of the Crawford County and Michigan Republican Party. He was a lifelong member of American Legion Post 106 where he served in many capacities including Post Commander and Chaplain.
He is survived by his children: Joel Thayer of Manistee; Jan Thayer of Grayling; Linda (Richard) Timmer of Tennessee; Julee (Steve) Houlton of Alaska; Sherrill (Robert MacInnis) Thayer of Tennessee; April (Gil) Ashton of Grayling; and Allison (Mark) Walkowski of St. Charles.
He is also survived by 18 grandchildren, 22 great- grandchildren, and 7 great- great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by brother, Robert Thayer; sister, Betty McCullough; and granddaughter, Penny Vaughn.
Services were held at Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home on Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Interment will be held at Beaver Creek Cemetery later in Spring with Military Honors.
Condolences may be sent to www.sorensonlockwood.com
Memorial contributions may be sent to Veterans Home of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Arrangements by Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home.