Donald Emanual Thatcher of Pima, Ariz., passed away, Sunday, October 22, 2023, at Mount Graham Regional Medical Center from a brief illness, surrounded by his loving family. He was 79.
Donald was born September 15, 1944, in Thatcher, Ariz., to goodly parents Alva Emanuel (Mannie) Thatcher and Doris Barney Thatcher. Donald always said, “I was born in Thatcher, grew up in Safford, got smart, and moved to Pima.”
Donald attended Safford High School and was the Student Body President among other achievements. He graduated Class of ‘62, and was later called to the Alaska/British Columbia Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He married Caroyln Cox, in ‘66 and had two beautiful sons, Cory and Craig. Donald and Carolyn later divorced and he moved to Springerville, Ariz. and met the love of his life, Barbara Lois Wilmer from Bayfield, Colorado. They were married in ‘74 and later sealed in the Mesa, Arizona Temple on August 21st, 1976 for time and all eternity. They had nine more children together.
They made their home in Pima, Ariz., where he worked at the Pima Market, that his parents owned and his home business of upholstery with his wife Barbara. After the Pima Market closed, he advanced his career and went back to school earning a BS from NAU in Special Education. He taught at Dan Hinton Schools, San Carlos Elementary, Los Milagros Academy, and finally Fort Thomas High before retiring in 2013.
Donald had a steadfast belief in the gospel, which he expressed through a powerful testimony. He possessed a genuine passion for selflessly serving others, finding joy in the act of giving. Additionally, he relished in frequent visits to the temple, cherishing the moments spent there in contemplation and devotion. In his pursuit of spiritual growth, Donald consistently immersed himself in the study of scriptures, deepening his understanding and connection to his faith.
Donald is survived by his children; Criag Thatcher of Santa Barbara, Cali., Zebedee (Sadie) Thatcher of Boone, Iowa, Jonathan Thatcher of Tempe, Teancum (Kim) Thatcher of Maricopa, Keturah Thatcher of Pima, Shalisha (Daniel) Larson of Safford, Shazar Thatcher of Phoenix, Ariel (Milo) Webb of Lakeside, and Moriah (Devon) Saline of Pima; His three brothers, Larry Thatcher of Chandler, Brent Thatcher of Pima, and Clyde Thatcher of Safford; and two sisters, Carolyn Roseberry of Mesa, and Evelyn Morris of Pima; 29 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
Donald was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara; his children, Cory and Leah Rachel Thatcher; his parents, Alva Emanuel (Mannie) and Doris Barney Thatcher; his two sisters, Linda Saline and Beverly Thatcher and his grandson, Shepard Apple Webb.