Thomas Norman Thayer, whose life was aptly represented by his explosive initials, passed away on March 31, 2019.
He was born in Iowa in 1929 and, not long after, revealed his natural entrepreneurial skills. He began his career as a wheeler-dealer as a young boy in Gila Bend, Arizona, selling tamales out of his toy wagon for 5 cents apiece. In high school, he worked as a logger in the Cascades and, after college, coached David Douglas High School’s football team, pulling off an upset to win the State Championship — a point of pride for the rest of his life. He later worked as a cameraman for CBS News, covering the Vietnam War; made wildlife films for Stub Stewart and others; tried his hand at beekeeping in Oregon; became an insurance agent for Equitable; and, finally, an author of books about his beloved Montana.
TNT was a lover of American and natural history. (Also women.) He loved taking his children on long drives, explaining the geology of the surrounding land. He was a patriot whose favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, taking pride in a carefully selected menu. He was an amateur chef who had recipes published, including in the Billings Gazette. He was an avid golfer at Yellowstone Country Club. His children will remember a big man with a big imagination, telling them bedtime stories with a seemingly endless supply of original and colorful characters. Tom himself seemed endless, and to write his obituary is to feel the mortality of us all.
The family would like to thank Nicole Goubeaux and Chelsea Chrisman for taking such good care of him during his final year.
He is survived by his children, Melvin, Maria and John. And preceded in death by his daughter Marcy.
Service to celebrate his life will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at 307 Emerald Drive, Billings, MT 59105.