The sunrise of Dalton Nye Thacker’s life was on October 18, 1950 when he was born to Robert Francis Thacker and Mamie Lee Abbott Thacker at Great Lakes Naval Hospital in North Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in Midland and Fort Stockton, Texas and graduated from Rantoul Township High School in 1969 in Rantoul, IL.
After high school, Dalton enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country for 25 years. He did one tour in Vietnam, two in Korea and three in Germany. He retired from the Army in 1994 as a First Sergeant. After retiring from the Army, he gained his Associates of Applied Technology in Technical Studies from Augusta Technical College in 2003. He was an instructor at Augusta Tech where he was also the chairman of the United Way and subsequently retired from his teaching career in 2012. He worked for a couple of years as HVAC Foreman at Yohe Plumbing, Heating & Air. Then he decided to fully retire in 2014 to do the things he loved and to spend time with family and friends.
Dalton married Georgia Faye Holcomb in 1972. They had two children; Frank Joseph Thacker was born in 1973, and Mary Frances Thacker was born in 1974. Frank and Mary both reside in Texas. Mary has spent her career in the rehabilitation and physical therapy field, and Frank followed in his father’s footsteps and became certified in HVAC at Augusta Tech and worked with his father for a while in Georgia before returning to Texas.
Dalton subsequently married Ruth Gray and created a life with her. He and Ruth doted on her two grandchildren, Kim and Robert Gray, and his granddaughter, LaurieLee Gosdin. They loved to travel, so taking their children and grandchildren along on trips and cruises became a family tradition.
Dalton was very active as he loved camping, fishing, boating, scuba diving, riding motorcycles, raising money for good causes, watching sports (Dallas Cowboys), listening to Gospel music and playing golf. He was known for a big heart and raising money for the United Way, March of Dimes, Fisher House at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Vietnam Memorial, and other worthwhile organizations. He supported “Run for the Son” presentations, prison ministries, was a member of the Resurrected Riders Christian Motorcycle Ministry Chapter and the American Legion Riders of Augusta, and led the “March for Jesus” in Augusta many times.
Above all Dalton loved the Lord as he was a man of faith. In 2019 he traveled to the Holy Land and was very moved by the experience where he was able to walk where Jesus walked. He studied the trip’s itinerary prior to his departure, so he could enjoy the biblical and historical significance of every stop. His Facebook pages are filled with his wonder of that trip and many of his friends and family were enthralled as he regaled the details of that trip to Israel. He continued to study the Bible through virtual Bible studies when he could not attend in person.
Dalton was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ruth Gray Thacker, his father, Robert Francis Thacker, and his step-son, Jack Gray. He is survived by his daughter, Mary Deaver (Ronnie) of Waco, TX, his son, Frank of Colorado City, TX, his mother, Lee Harris of Fort Stockton, TX, his sisters, Lee Lentz-Edwards (Scott) of Kermit, TX, Laura Tarver (David) of Orlando, FL and Mandy Evans of Fort Stockton, TX and his step-son Rainer D. Gray of Warthen, GA. He is also survived by his three grandchildren: LaurieLee Gosdin (fiancé Jordan Eppler) of Waco, TX, Dr. Kimberley Gray of Woodstock, GA and Dr. Robert Gray (Sarah) of Macomb, GA and his great granddaughter, Madelyn Gray of Macomb, GA. His nieces and nephew were a big part of his life: Liberty Neal (Bill) of Spring, TX, Jacob Lentz (Ryan) of Fort Stockton, TX, Victoria Ginavan (Todd) of Cypress, TX, Johnessa, Ally and Brent Evans of Fort Stockton, TX and Angelica Tarver of Orlando, FL as well as his great nephews and nieces: Weston and Lainey Neal of Spring, TX, Kaylei and Anthony Perna of Fort Stockton, TX, Luke, Emilia and Maverick Ginavan of Cypress, TX, and Katherine and Adeline Tarver of Orlando, FL. A sweet lady friend, Frankie Barker, was with Dalton the past several years and cared for him during some difficult medical issues. The family will always be grateful for her. Special appreciation also to the doctors and nurses at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, specifically nurse Andy and Dr. Mayes. Their care and compassion during difficult circumstances were exemplary.
Dalton attended many churches throughout Georgia and South Carolina, but his home church was Friendship United Methodist Church in Hephzibah, GA. The sunset on Dalton’s time on Earth occurred on Thursday, January 28th after a fight against Covid-19 complicated by pneumonia. His Celebration of Life service will be held outside on Saturday, February 13th at 11 a.m. at Friendship UMC. The church is located at 3027 Tobacco Road, Hephzibah, GA 30815. Due to the pandemic, masks will be required and social distancing will be in place. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Fisher House of Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Dalton’s memory. Thomas L. King Funeral Home and Cremation Service
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