Helen Joanna Thayer, age 89, passed away at 7:40 p.m. December 10, 2018 in her home. She was born on December 12, 1928 in Chillicothe, Missouri to parents Glen and Maye Urbach. Joanna graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1947, and attended Central Methodist College where she majored in Music. In 1949, Joanna married Luke L. Thayer III and lived in Vienna and Alexandria, Virginia until his death in 1980. Joanna was a beloved mother and enjoyed teaching her children piano, going camping, and supporting her children’s sports activities. During the 1960’s, Joanna was the organist and children’s choir director at St. James Methodist Church in Alexandria. She was an avid animal lover, especially her cats. She loved playing bingo and going to Las Vegas, and when the MLB team Washington Nationals came to Washington, she became a huge fan.
Joanna worked for the FBI from 1949 to 1955 under J. Edgar Hoover. She resigned to raise her family and re-entered the workforce in 1967 where she worked for the U.S. Army Research Institute until her retirement in 1993. She received the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service in 1991 for meritorious service. Following the death of her husband, she lived in Springfield, Woodbridge, and finally in Fredericksburg, VA. She is predeceased by her husband Luke L. Thayer III, and is survived by her 4 children: Glenda Algozzini and husband Frank of Charleston, SC; Rhonda Duffy and husband John of Stockbridge, GA; Luke L. Thayer IV of Fredericksburg, VA; and Erik Thayer of Conway, SC; along with 7 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
Joanna will be cremated and interred alongside her husband, Luke L. Thayer III, in National Cemetery, at a later date. Joanna’s Celebration of Life will be held on February 2, 2019 from 7:00-11:00 p.m. at the Alley Cat Restaurant and Sports Bar located at 2 S. Whiting Street, Alexandria, VA. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made online to PetSmart Charities at www.petsmartcharities.org/celebrate-your-pet/honor-your-pet or mailed to PetSmart Charities, 19601 North 27th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027. There will be an interment at Arlington National Cemetery, on August 16, 2019 at 10:00AM.