Eleanor (Maley) Thatcher

Published 8:54 am Monday, May 8, 2023

Eleanor (Haley) Thatcher

Eleanor Juletta (Maley) Thatcher passed away on April 10th, 2023 at the Pacifica Memory Care Facility in Henderson, NV surrounded by her loving family.

Eleanor (Ellie) was born May 18,1937 to Clarence and Margaret Maley on their farm in Leroy, Minnesota. She was raised on the family farm in Grand Meadow, MN where she, right along with her two brothers and sister, did all the usual chores like milking cows.

At the age of 17, Ellie was crowned the first Princess Kay of the Milky Way out of 2,000 participants. Truly a highlight of her life. This distinguished honor afforded her many incredible opportunities, like traveling to Paris, France to meet the prime minister and gift him 48 bottles of milk representing each state at that time, for his efforts to increase dairy consumption throughout France. The American Dairy Association estimated that her trip sparked nearly one million dollars’ worth of publicity.

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Eleanor graduated from Grand Meadow High School in 1955, where she was the class salutatorian. Little did she know, but that summer, at a chance encounter at the Austin swimming pool, she met Dick, her future husband, while he was on lifeguard duty. After attending her freshman year of college at Hamline University she transferred to the University of Oklahoma(OU). While at OU, she was involved in Tri Delta sorority and she and Dick continued to date through her college years. She married Dick, the love of her life and soulmate, on August 17, 1957. They lived in Yuma, AZ, Minneapolis, MN and finally settled in Rochester, MN where they raised their three children, Tami, Bradley and Elise.

Throughout her life in Rochester, Ellie was involved in many activities, including bridge club, Rochester Garden Club and even modeling for many charity events and Macy’s fashion shows throughout the years. She was an avid tennis player and played on several USTA teams.

Ellie loved the warmth of spring and tending to her flowers, she loved being the hostess entertaining friends, and she loved interior decorating(for which she was very talented) for her home as well as that of many of her friends.

Through the years Ellie had many titles, her favorite was that of Mom. Raising her three children and supporting them and her family was her most favorite and important role. She spent countless hours supporting and attending their many activities and cheering for them at all their swimming and diving meets. She truly was their biggest fan.

Ellie was employed as an audiology technician at the Rochester State Hospital until it closed. Then, in 1968 Dick and Ellie opened Thatcher Pools and Spas, setting forth a 50+ year business still in operation today. She was involved in many aspects of the business including sales, marketing and bookkeeping.

Ellie and Dick enjoyed traveling the world and visited six out of the seven continents, visiting many countries including: Norway, Australia, Peru, Africa, many European countries and Russia.

Later in life Ellie received her most cherished title, that of Grandma, to Benjamin, Kaitlin, Jillian, Anna, Cameron and Maya. She loved them so much and spent many fun-filled years skiing the slopes with them at Copper Mountain, scuba diving in the Cayman Islands, summers around the pool and big holiday celebrations. She loved watching them grow up into the beautiful adults they are today. She couldn’t be more proud.

If you happened to find Ellie competing on the tennis court, facilitating a pool sale or running around in town, she was always put together with the perfect outfit, matching jewelry and lipstick and would happily greet you with her million dollar smile!

Ellie and Dick retired to Henderson, Nevada, and enjoyed many years there making new friends, attending Vegas shows, playing Black Jack and video poker at the casino, in which they were known for their uncommonly good luck, and entertaining friends that visited.

She will be deeply missed by family and friends. Eleanor is survived by her husband, Richard/Dick Thatcher to whom she was happily married for 65 years. She is further survived by her two children, Bradley(Laurie) Thatcher and Elise(Tom) Laedtke; her six grandchildren Benjamin(Tanya) Thatcher, Kaitlin(Corey Thiner) Thatcher, Jillian(Tim Olson) Thatcher, Anna(Philip DeBerg) Laedtke, Cameron Laedtke and Maya Hamm. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Tami Thatcher, her parents, Clarence and Margaret Maley, two brothers, Robert and Ronald Maley, her sister, Audrey Queensland and her sister in law Helen Thatcher.

A private family burial will be held in Rochester, MN. A gathering for family and friends to celebrate Ellie’s life will be held on August 5th, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the home of Brad and Laurie Thatcher.

Memorial contributions can be made to Rochester Swimming Incorporated.

Eleanor’s family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff of the Pacifica Memory Care Facility.