Dr. Walter Eugene "Drizz" Thatcher
Walter passed away December 18, 2022 at his home in Edina, MN of natural causes at the age of 95, just shy of what would have been his 96th birthday. He went just as we all hoped, peacefully, sitting in his recliner watching one more football game on a Sunday afternoon.
Walter was born in Evanston, IL, January 22, 1927, making Illinois his home until moving to start his career in Minnesota in 1954, all the while remaining true to the Blackhawks and Cubs in large part due to the love of the sports and teams by his mother, Pan, who took Walter and his brother out of school to attend games.
Early interests during his youth and high school years included basketball, soccer, hockey, swimming, lettering in baseball, orchestra, Honor Society all 4 years, bridge, small game hunting and fishing-which was a passion shared by his father, brother and eventually his brother in-law and best friend, Lewis Place.
Walter’s yearning for education went beyond his high school graduation from New Trier HS, Winnetka, IL in 1944. He enrolled at Northwestern University, IL but withdrew in good standing to join the Navy. He served from March 1945-July 1946 reaching the rank of Aviation Radioman third class. Honors included the American Area RIBBON and WWII Victory Medal. Walter was honorably discharged due to his only sibling being killed during WWII.
Walter went on to graduate from Northwestern University, IL in 1950 earning his BS degree in Liberal Arts. He continued his education at the University of IL, earning his Master of Science degree in 1951, then continued on, earning his Doctorate degree in Philosophy of Chemistry in 1955. Walter completed and earned his PhD while working full time at 3M and raising a young family of 3 which would eventually grow to 11.
Dr Thatcher moved to Minnesota to start his lifelong career at 3M in St Paul, MN from 1954-1991 as a Senior Chemist in the Analytical section. Walter loved the outdoors during all seasons and felt Minnesota was as good to call home as Illinois. He made the most of the seasons enjoying hockey, golf, skiing, bowling, kayaking, fishing and lifelong travelling. Walter was musically inclined (playing the bass fiddle and piano), and was an avid reader and chess player. He passed along many of these talents and passions to his children. But above all else, Walter loved all his children-especially the babies, unconditionally.
Walter was preceded in death by brother, Richard (Dick) Thatcher; mother, Lillian (Pan) Evarts; father, Everett Thatcher; first born, Richard Thatcher (6/2022) and grandson, Christian Thatcher; first wife, Marion L. Place (Thatcher-Etchells); second wife, Janet Gehlsen (Hale-Thatcher); brother-in-law and forever friend, Lewis N. Place; and mother-in-law, Marion C. Place.
Walter is survived by his sons, Clifford, Thomas, Todd, Bill, Mitchell, Kenneth (Hale) Thatcher; daughters, Christine Koehler, Linda, Patricia (partner, Blake), Becky (Chris) Borsheim; daughter-in-law, Lindi (Richard Thatcher); grandchildren, Jennifer Koehler (Eric) Cain, Timothy (Lacy) Koehler, Holly (Jeremiah) Isham, Becky Thatcher, Brooklyn Borsheim; great-grandchildren, Kolton and Abbott Cain, Lyra and Cindel Koehler (1/15/2023-life anew), Luella and baby brother, Isham (due 2/16/2023); wife, Joan (Sewall) Thatcher; step-sons, Christopher, Barry (partner, Geeta), Cary (Marla) Sewall; and step-grandsons, Ryan, Matt, Kyle and Collin Sewall.
Walter is also survived by his “angels on earth.” These were Walter’s longterm caregivers who made his last few years memorable and filled with heartfelt care, laughter and love: daughter, Linda, granddaughter, Holly, Kim Kotila, Jeanine Barrett, Kelly Kalthoff, Marija Knezevich, and Alesha Bruggraff.
Celebration of life service will be held in Stillwater, MN where Walter resided with his children from 1964-1988. Service to be held Saturday, June 24, 2023, 12:00 P.M. at BRADSHAW CELEBRATION OF LIFE CENTER, 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater with a visitation one hour prior to the service. A luncheon will follow the service. Private burial will follow in Illinois where he will be laid to rest alongside his brother, pop, and mom.
In lieu of flowers a contribution to a charity of your choice in Walter’s name is appreciated.