James Durwood Thalacker passed peacefully at home on February 2, 2023. He shared nearly 90 years of love and generosity with everyone he met and was constantly surrounded by good friends and a family that loved him. Private arrangements were held under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, in Mendham, NJ and there will be a private family memorial service at a later date.
Born in Thornapple Twp, WI. in 1933, Jim was the middle child of ten brothers and sisters who remained close through the years despite geography. After attending College at Moorhead State, he proudly enlisted with the US Air Force where he served during the Korean War. He met his wife of almost 60 years, Ailsa Macdonald while teaching in Tasmania and they were married in 1963. They enjoyed several additional years in Tasmania highlighted by Ailsa’s family, good friends, an acute love for golf as well as spirited drives around the small island in his all-time favorite car, a red Bristol coupe.
In 1966 they headed back to the U.S. to live in Northern Wisconsin with their first dog Schwantz, one of the many canines they would come to call part of the family. They eventually moved to Albany, WI to start their family and in 1969 Jim became the proud father to a son James Macdonald whom he would continue to be not only a father, but also a friend and mentor to for the next 53 years. Pursuing his love for cooking and innovation, he started his own consulting firm, JD Thalacker & Assoc. which he ran successfully for many years until his retirement.
He was an amazing and accomplished cook and loved to fish and do woodworking. Most impressively he built a beautiful cradle that was used by all four of his beloved grandchildren. He was a constant tinkerer earning himself the nickname “Buster” in his formative years and was always trying to fix things that most people would just replace. As years went on, he turned his love for duck and deer hunting into a passion for photography preferring to “shoot” things through a lens, rending some of the most beautiful pictures that still hang on our walls today. He was an avid reader and soaked up all genres, but truly enjoyed WWII history. He was an unbelievably loyal friend, and many will remember the countless Sunday mornings drinking coffee, eat donuts, read the newspaper, or just talking while big band music played in the background. The door was always open, and everyone was welcome.
His happiest times were those spent with family and friends. He was the proud grandfather to four grandchildren whom he loved deeply and enjoyed watching them grow into young adults. For the last five years he and Ailsa lived in New Jersey which he cherished as he was able to see Abbey, Tommy and Robbie finish high school and enter a new phase in their lives as they went on to college. Jim also got to find out quickly who truly runs the house as Caitlyn (AKA The Boss) took the reins.
He is survived by his beloved wife Ailsa (nee Macdonald) of nearly 60 years; his son and daughter in law James M. and Christine (nee Hildebrandt); his grandchildren Abigail, Thomas, Robert and Caitlyn, siblings Bonnie Mitchell, Neil Thalacker, and Bruce Thalacker as well as many more dear friends and relatives. He is predeceased by Gerald Thalacker, Gene Thalacker, Sharon Peterson, Mary Bobette Dehlin, Kent Thalacker, and Gale Thalacker.