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Lloyd Thrasher

My dad, Lloyd L. Thrasher, Jr., died April 1. He was 90 years old and suffered from several ailments that plague the finely aged. He was a part-time resident of the valley for many years, but has lived in Gunnison continually for the past two. He was a complex and interesting man.  Dad was born in Kansas City, Miss., on Oct. 21, 1924, to Lloyd L. Thrasher and Mary Morgan Thrasher. The family eventually relocated to Glen Ellyn, Ill., a Chicago suburb, where my father attended school, graduating in 1942 from Glenbard High School with honors. He lettered in tennis and basketball.  These were the war years. Dad attended the University of Illinois at Champagne, majoring in accounting for one year before joining the Army Air Corps, through which he received training as a navigator. Upon completing his training, he entered active service as a 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned to the 351st Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force in England. Before leaving the U.S., he married his long-time girlfriend, Wanda Lee Halleman, who he m et in high school. Then he joined his crew at Windsor Locks, Bradley Air Force Base, Conn., where he navigated a B-17 to Pole Brook Base in England via Iceland. He was 20 years old. Also certified to navigate C-47, C-45, and AT-18 Aircraft, Dad maintained his crew never encountered enemy fire as the war was winding down. But the crew was busy providing humanitarian aid to our war-torn allies. They had a major role in relocating soldiers liberated from prisoner of war camps to their home soil throughout Europe and I loved listening to tales about his service. He was discharged as a 1st Lieutenant in 1946, but remained in the reserves. He then returned to university to complete his degree. Wanda, who was only 17 when they wed, joined him there and began her college career. Dad graduated in 1949 and my parents started a family. Tracey was born in March of 1950 and Jill Ellen in August of 1953. Dad’s major interest was his occupation. As a Certified Public Accountant, he held many important jobs over the years primarily as a chief financial officer. Three jobs are the most intriguing. In the 1950s he worked for Cummins Engine Company. It was his task to set up foreign business offices for this rapidly expanding firm. He traveled in that regard first to the Bahama Islands. Then a year later, he trekked to set up a much larger operation in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and getting there was half the fun. Arriving in Miami, he boarded a propeller airplane which flew across the Caribbean. There the plane continued south above the vast and then-intact rain forest. Its size and lushness held him in awe. At one point, the plane landed in Manaus, Brazil, for refueling. Here he had time to take in this frontier city in the center of the Amazon region. He described it as colorful and native, teeming with exotic tribal people and animals. Now, both the city and the forest have seen huge impacts from industrial growth in the area. Dad enjoyed relating many stories about his trip and other events. Although Dad could speak and read some Spanish and had completed a crash course in Portuguese, communication problems made it all the more difficult to establish the business in Sao Paulo, using his own pigeon Portuguese speaking to people who functioned at a relative level in English. Still, he made many fast Brazilian friends with whom he corresponded for many years. I remember him bringing home a trove of interesting treasures from his time in South America.  Finding such extended travel difficult on our family, he next took a job in the “Wild West,” Denver. The year was 1960, the job, Comptroller of the Denver Union Stock Yard Company and Secretary/Treasurer of the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. For my sister and I, this job was fun! When we went to see my dad at work, we toured huge stock yards full of livestock of all kinds and real cowboys, and yearly we were treated to box seats at the National Western, perhaps the finest indoor stock show and rodeo in the nation. Finally though, Dad got the job offer of his lifetime, Comptroller for the Utilities Department, City of Dallas, otherwise known as Dallas Power and Light. His employment began in 1971. I remember seeing my dad many times on TV giving reports about utility rate studies televised from the capitol in Austin. He loved this work, and that was the job from which he eventually retired when he was 68. He was a guy who could not let go. Wisely, my mother, Wanda, a retired teacher, had invested in a property on Gasparilla Island on the Southwest Coast of Florida. Grudgingly, Dad joined her there, spending many happy years as residents of “paradise.” Whenever and wherever I encounter people who knew my dad, they tell me how intelligent, interesting and downright funny he was. He has also always been generous and a good steward to our family, and we will surely miss him. Lloyd L. Thrasher, Jr. will be laid to rest beside his parents and grandparents in Kinmundy,   Ill. Surviving are his siblings, William Thrasher of Chicago   and Martha Stroben of Encinitas, Calif., and her children. Also, he leaves his daughters, Tracey  (Ken) Coleman of Gunnison andJill (Larry) Green of Washington, Okla. He was extremely loved by his grandchildren, Kirsten  Daily, whose help in his care was much appreciated, Reidun Daily Wallin, Connor Coleman and Tanya Green. He had special pride in his four great grandsons,  (all boys!) Morgan Crosby and Tucker Daily-Crosby and Torsten and Soren Wallin.  est in Peace, Daddio! —Tracey Thrasher Coleman

Gunnison Country Times

218 N. Wisconsin Street
Gunnison, CO 81230
Phone: 970-641-1414