Obituary: THACKER, RALPH

Published: Friday, July 25 2014 1:42 a.m. MDT

Ralph Leo Thacker1928 ~ 2011Ralph Leo Thacker, 82, died of natural causes from the complications of Parkinson's and dementia on September 22, 2011, at home surrounded by his family.He was born December 9, 1928 in Moroni, Utah to Ralph Alonzo and Ethel Jacklin Thacker and was raised on a farm in Daniel, just south of Heber City, Utah. Inspired by his father, Ralph learned carpentry and later graduated from BYU with a B.A in Industrial Arts, a minor in French, and a teaching certificate. He taught high school architectural drafting, lettering, French, and other industrial arts for 30 years at Cyprus High School in the Granite School District. He was an advisor of the student VICA club and led them to winning local and state championships. Ralph fell immediately in love upon meeting his wife of 45 years, Myrna Nielson, in the summer of 1966. He willingly accepted the challenges and work that came with supporting a wife who was physically disabled because of polio. He was a tremendous example of unconditional and long-suffering love and said she was not only his sweetheart but also his best friend. He was a very engaged father who took great interest in his children's lives. Ralph was a community servant, working for 34 years with the Taylorsville Lion's Club, serving as president five times and leading a successful effort to save the historic Taylorsville Park from commercial construction. His parting gift to the Lion's was the donation of his eyes for research. Ralph was a man of great faith and humility. He served in various capacities within the LDS church, including service at the Jordan River Temple for 8 years and in various callings in scouting, including serving several years as a scout leader for special needs scouts which included his son Bryan. He loved music, playing the piano, singing in choirs and performing many vocal solo numbers, often accompanied by his wife Myrna. During the last decade, his son Randall would play the piano while Ralph sang until just 3 weeks ago when he no longer was able to sing-a-long. He was always ambitious, whether it was growing a garden, designing homes for various friends, building his own four-plex, his own home, and assisting others in building projects. He loved the outdoors, including snow skiing, and attending BYU football games, hiking, and daddy-daughter fishing dates with Merrilee. Many have described Ralph as a kind and gentle friend.Ralph is survived by his wife, Myrna and children, Merrilee, Bryan and Randall Thacker, and his siblings, Dona Sweat, Zina (Lars) Jenkins, Hilda Patterson, Lynn (Cheryl) Thacker, and Reed (Kathleen) Thacker. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Vida, and brothers-in-law Jim Patterson, Roland Peacock, and Doyl Sweat. The Thacker family expresses their deep gratitude and appreciation for the incredible care and support of a variety of caregivers over the years: Natasha, John, Lupe, Heather, Milika, Allen, and Esther. They also express their thanks for the caring staff of Brightwork Cottage's and Canyon Creek's adult day care and to CareSource Hospice. They are also grateful to the many neighbors and friends who have been there so unconditionally throughout Ralph's illness. Funeral service will be Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 12:00 noon at the Taylorsville Gardens 1st Ward, 1900 West 4200 South. Viewings will be Monday, 6-8 p.m. at McDougal Funeral Home, 4330 South Redwood Road and Tuesday at the church from 11-11:45 a.m. Interment, Taylorsville Cemetery. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made by sending a check to the Utah Lion's Eye Bank at 65 Mario Capecchi Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84132. Please specify in honor of Ralph Thacker.