Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 17, 2013

Fern Viola Thayer

PARKER, Colo. — Mrs. Fern Viola Thayer, 89, died Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, in Parker, Colo., after a long illness. She was born May 7, 1924, in Central Lake, Mich., the daughter of William Matthew and Julia Belle (Hess) Somerville.

She was raised in Central Lake, before moving to Bellaire. She lived in the Traverse City area from 1950 to 2012 and was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church, currently Traverse Bay United Methodist Church. For 15 years, Fern operated a day-care center in her home and was employed by Michigan Bell Telephone Company for 16 years before her retirement in 1981. Fern’s greatest joys were her family, gardening, reading, and her two cats, Susie and Pansy.

She is survived by three daughters, Jackelyn (Chesley) Culp of Centennial, Colo., Janice Francisco of Grand Rapids, and Shelley Thayer of Sarasota, Fla.; by four grandchildren, Chesley (Kelly) Culp of Denver, Captain Benjamin (Michele) Culp of Frederick, Md., Todd Francisco of Holt, Mich., and Michelle (Richard) Stouffer of Rockford, Mich.; and by five great-grandchildren, Wilhelmina and Lilian Francisco, and Gabriel, Joselyn, and Genevieve Stouffer.

Fern was preceded in death by her husband, Virgil Thayer — they shared over 50 years together before his death in 2002; by a son, Stephen Leroy in infancy; two sisters, Pluma Somerville, and Mary (Al) Co-ddington; and three brothers, Stephen (Margaret), Grant (Virginia), and Clarence (Peggy) Somerville.

Cremation has taken place. Family visitation will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Traverse Bay United Methodist Church, 1200 Ramsdell Rd. The memorial service will follow at 11 a.m. Interment will commence at about 3 p.m. at Lakeview Cemetery in Bellaire.

Donations may be made to Traverse Bay United Methodist Church for their renovation project, or to the Traverse City Senior Center.

Arrangements have been made by Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign her online guestbook,

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