Jerry Dean Thatcher, age 60, of Morehead, educator, community leader, and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, went to his heavenly home on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, following an accident on I-64 in Rowan County while returning to his residence after participating in a Patriot Guard Riders funeral service in Grayson.
Born Dec. 15, 1955, in West Union, Ohio, he was a son of the late Harry Blaine and Geneva Orianna Grooms Thatcher. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Norma Ruth Thatcher, and a brother-in-law, Donald Ray Grisham.
Jerry is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Melanie Jean Hamilton Thatcher, whom he wed June 28, 1975; their beloved sons, Sean Eric Thatcher and wife Laura of Lexington and Seth Wesley Thatcher and wife Colby of Morehead; and cherished twin grandchildren, Georgia Faye and David Samuel Thatcher.
Other survivors include a sister, Leona "Jean" Thatcher Grisham of Vandalia, Ohio; a brother, Harry Blaine (JR) Thatcher Jr. and special friend Helen Richardson of New Lebanon, Ohio, as well as many caring nieces, nephews, and extended family. He also leaves behind numerous friends, co-workers, students, and others from all walks of life who meant so much to him.
Following his graduation from West Union High School in his hometown, Jerry attended the University of Cincinnati. He transferred to Morehead State University and graduated magna cum laude in 1981 with a B.A. Degree in education with an emphasis in biology. He acquired the M.A. Degree in education in 1984 and in 2010 the M. A. Degree in Educational Administration, graduating summa cum laude with both degrees. He also earned principal certification and Rank I.
As with every phase of his life, Jerry was a zealous participant. While in college he was active with the Kentucky Education Association Student Program, Geological Society, Morehead Christian Student Fellowship, Fencing Club, Bowling Club and Big Brothers Association.
During his 34 years in the Bath County School District, Jerry brought his enthusiasm for lifelong learning, his determination to help each student become a better person, and his compassion for others. He taught fifth grade at Bethel Elementary a year and moved to Bath County Middle School, where he taught Sixth Grade Science from 1981 to 2007. He served as assistant principal at Owingsville Elementary School from 2008-2012. In 2013, he became the Crossroads Elementary School principal, retiring in 2016.
In addition, he coached soccer, basketball, tennis, and sponsored the Beta Club and many Science Fairs. He also participated in professional organization, including KEA and NEA.
Throughout his career and in each position, Mr. Thatcher earned the respect of his students, colleagues, and administrators. Jerry was passionate about education and spent his life mentoring and encouraging.
Jerry was a hero to so many. He spent countless hours serving people in whatever they might need. So many people knew him as somebody who was his happiest when he was taking care of others. As a teacher, he taught through involvement. He captivated his students with wondrous science experiments and made his students know that they mattered and that they could accomplish anything with determination.
His influence as a father and husband will last for generations. He also taught his children and grandchildren so many valuable life lessons: treat others with kindness; be quick to forgive; never carry hate in your heart. He was an affectionate husband. Whether in public or in private, he held his wife's Melanie's hand and kissed her cheek. Many nights he would lie with her on the couch and rub her feet until she fell asleep. His love for her was noticed by so many but was only ever meant for one—his loving wife.
In his later years, he reconnected with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and knew Him and His forgiveness. His involvement with the church was one of the things of which he was the proudest and yet most humbled by. He was involved as an usher, helped with children's church, and was a part of many fundraisers and community projects with the church.
He will be missed by so many. But he would want those of you reading this to remember this: "Are you ready?" Mean and hateful best describes him (even though we all know that isn't true). When someone asks you, "What's up?" tell him "Everything but my salary." But most of all, he would want you to, "Be safe out there."
We love you, Jerry. Brother. Husband. Dad. Papaw.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, at Morehead First Church of God, with the Rev. Allen Hutchinson and Rev. Bill Konstantopoulos officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens.
Pallbearers: Billy Leonard, Craig Courtney, David Hamilton, Terry Hamilton, Rick Grisham, Brian Grisham, Gary Bowyer, and Craig Thatcher.
Visitation is 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, and after 8 a.m. Wednesday at the First Church of God, 576 Sunset Lane, Morehead, KY 40351. Masonic services will be conducted at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, at the church, by Bath County Masonic Lodge No. 55.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to Rowan County Christian Academy, 576 Sunset Lane, Morehead, KY 40351.
Arrangements are under the direction of Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals, 400 Fraley Drive, Morehead, KY 40351.
View memorial tribute or sign guestbook at www.northcuttandson.com
Published on September 6, 2016