Mildred B. Thayer was born August 10, 1921 in Seattle, Washington to Daniel A. Knowlton and Blanche E. Knowlton of Auburn, Washington.
She joined two older sisters. Her younger years included swimming in Lake Meridian with her family, picking beans and berries, babysitting and cannery working. She excelled in school and graduated from Auburn High School in 1938. Then she started her career in bookkeeping at Bothell Chevrolet in Auburn. It was there she met Pete Thayer, whom she married in 1941 in the Auburn Presbyterian Church.
After Pete left working at Boeing, together they established a furnace and appliance business in Auburn. Here she again used her bookkeeping talents. Her favorite hobby started as they bought and remodeled their homes, in addition to raising their three sons. Another career change happened when they moved to the Oroville, Wash. area in 1955.
They learned the apple orcharding business from Pete’s uncle C.E. Thayer at Whitestone Lake. Soon after, they purchased their own orchard, for which she was the bookkeeper and co-manager. To supplement their income as they expanded the orchard, she became the bookkeeper for Oro Fruit in Oroville in 1958. She resigned in 1969 when their apple ranch needed more of her time.
During this time, seven grandchildren started arriving. They retired in 1979 when they sold their orchard and moved to Wenatchee, Wash. They supported their expanding family in many ways, hosting holiday dinners and trips with her grandchildren. She valued education and encouraged her sons to continue theirs. She helped at least three grandchildren with housing during their college years.
She and Pete also enjoyed traveling. After Pete’s death, she needed to use her remodeling design planning skills again. Their Auburn house, which had been used by Pete’s deceased grandmother, needed upgrades prior to its sale. She enlisted her son Brad and his wife to do most of the work; a project that took most of the year. During this time, she connected with her high school classmates, including Dean Shannon.
In 2012, heart issues caused her to accept her Oroville son’s standing invitation to come live with him and his wife. Mildred brought her hobby of remodeling with her and helped plan, in detail, an addition to their house. During her stay, she shared numerous family stories and got to know her grandchildren better at holiday celebrations.
She was a joy to have around. She was helpful, cheerful, and thoughtful of others. She amazed us all, that until the last few years, she could use her computer and that she enjoyed reading periodicals and novels on her Kindle, right up to her hospitalization. She passed on December 12, 2018 at North Valley Hospital, Tonasket, Wash. at age 97.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Pete; sisters, Stella and Jane and great-grandson, Hunter Rowley.
She is survived by sons, Terry (Carolyn), Bradley (Diana) and Greg (Bonnie); seven grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held Friday, December 21, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Oroville Assembly of God with Pastor Dwayne Turner officiating. Internment will follow at the Oroville Riverview Cemetery.
The family asks that memorials be made to Seattle Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 5271, Seattle, WA 98145-5005.
Bergh Funeral Service & Crematory is in care of arrangements.