Joanne Marie Thayer passed away on August 4th, 2017 surrounded by her immediate family in the Vitas Hospice on Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, Texas.

Born August 14, 1950 in Jamaica, New York, Joanne was the only child of the late Alexander and Mildred Bahr Melnichak of Huntington, New York.

She was married to husband Dennis Thayer on May 12, 1984 at the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Chapel, in Tucson, Arizona. She was previously married to, and widowed by, Gene Fidler of South Brunswick, New Jersey.

Joanne is survived by her husband, and the couple's only child, Jacquelyn Michelle Thayer, of San Antonio, Texas.

Joanne had a long association working with the publishing industry. After her graduation from Walt Whitman High School in Huntington, New York in 1968, she completed a course of instruction at Katharine Gibbs College and began her professional career.

Beginning with her management position with Boys' Life magazine, she went on to work as an advertising executive at the Village Voice magazine in Manhattan, New York. After taking on the responsibilities of wife and mother, she went on later in life to found her own magazine, "A Heart of Grace and Joy," based in the internet and featuring the splendid photography and writing of her and her talented contributors.

You can see and download if you wish, every copy. Joanne loved to share and would love for you to see her beautiful publication, created by her and her closest friends:

Joanne's greatest interests were varied, and included crafts, particularly cross stitch; nature photography, at which she excelled as an amateur; bird watching, especially of the American bald eagle; caring for the many cats she came across in her life; her deep interest and work in genealogy; her love of travel across the United States, an interest instilled in her at a young age by her parents; her deep love of God and family; and meeting new people and making lifelong friends of them through her cheerful and smiling nature.

She founded the crafts blog "Of Generations Past," to showcase her cross-stitch designs, talented and touching on so many areas, including her love of family and things of the heart and hearth, and the seashore. Please visit it, besides beautiful designs the site is filled with Joanne's thoughts and musings. In addition, she loved to post on Pinterest at

Perhaps her greatest achievement was home schooling our daughter Jacquelyn from third grade through graduation from high school, where she went on to great academic achievements herself. Based on lessons learned as part of that triumph, Joanne went on to teach at ENAACT, the New Braunfels, Texas home school academy, where she was beloved and aided the growth of so many students.

Joanne is also survived by her many cousins, and by relatives through both of her marriages, including my daughter Kelly Wagoner and her husband Thomas, of Jackson, Mississippi.

At her request, Mrs. Thayer was cremated, with her ashes to be scattered at some of the locations across the United States dearest to her heart. I will show those places in the "Stories" section of this memorial. Come, see the places she loved and where her spirit visits while her soul is with God.

Also by her request, there was no funeral. There was a commemoration and remembrance of her life in Tucson during the New Year 2018 holiday, with some of her ashes scattered at Gates Pass. Her friends and relatives are requested that there be no flowers, but donations to the Audubon Society, Vitas Hospice or your favorite charity are encouraged.

There is a marker placed in Highland Cemetery, Hopewell, New Jersey near her mother's grave, to mark her passing in perpetuity, but she will live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.

We love and miss you, Joanne.

Posted by Linda Huson on August 14, 2022
I still miss you so very much! So many times I think of things I want to tell you... Happy Birthday. Say hello to my Mom... 
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on August 14, 2022
Happy birthday Jo! I hope you are enjoying your special day. We miss you. ❤️
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2022
Happy birthday, sweetheart! All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 4, 2022
It's amazing to me that five years can feel like just yesterday and also a thousand years ago at the same time. You are always in my thoughts and heart, and I look forward to being with you again.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on March 27, 2022
Almost 13,000 views! I love that Joanne's story is still being told, and heard.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on December 25, 2021
Your favorite time of the year and we're thinking of you, as always. Merry Christmas, love, and I will see you again, by and by.
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on August 14, 2021
Happy birthday Jo! We are thinking of you today, and hope you are celebrating what an amazing woman you are and know how much you are loved and missed.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2021
Happy birthday, dear one. Thinking of you, as always.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 4, 2021
Four years ago today this was the saddest day of our lives, but we're consoled knowing that you're with our Heavenly Father and watching over us. Love you, Jo!
Posted by Dennis Thayer on May 12, 2021
Happy anniversary, sweetheart. Miss you so much!
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on December 25, 2020
Merry Christmas Jo. Every year we get out the cross-stitch pieces that showcase just one of your many incredible talents. It wouldn't be the holidays without some of your beautiful cross stitch hanging up. We love you and we miss you.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on December 25, 2020
Merry Christmas, Joanne!

Thinking of you and missing you every day.
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on August 14, 2020
Happy heavenly birthday Jo! I hope you are up there celebrating with all your favorite things. You are so loved and missed!
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2020
Happy birthday, sweetheart.
Posted by Nancy Clare on August 14, 2020
Joanne thinking of you on your birthday . Still miss you, but I’ll see you one of these days....nancy clare
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 4, 2020
I won't let the world forget you, sweetheart. I know I never will. I love you forever.
Posted by Linda Huson on August 4, 2020

Three years... and I still miss you just as much as I did before. Say hello
to my Mom for me!
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on December 26, 2019
Merry Christmas Jo! I'm looking outside at the snow and thinking of you. I think you'd love it! Today (and always) we are missing you.
Posted by Linda Huson on December 25, 2019
Merry Christmas Joanne. Missing you today and always...

Posted by Dennis Thayer on December 25, 2019
Merry Christmas, Joanne! I see you in my dreams, I can't wait until we're together again. Until then, keep watching over us, you're the best guardian angel ever!
Posted by Linda Huson on August 14, 2019
Happy Birthday Joanne! 
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on August 14, 2019
Happy birthday Jo! I hope you are enjoying a delicious beverage and pastry up there, lighting up Heaven with your beautiful smile. We love you and miss you so much!
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2019
Happy birthday, sweetheart. I'm so looking forward to seeing you again and being with you. You are my heart.
Posted by Andrea Rodarte on August 6, 2019
I consider Joanne a very special friend who I will never forget. She is so missed by so many. Joanne and her family remain in my prayers.
Soon it will be Autumn. Joanne, say hello to my dad. Perhaps you can have a cup of coffee and a black & white cookie with him. You share the August birthday month.
Posted by Tammy Lott on August 4, 2019
Joanne has been on my mind this past week, and now I know why. What a wonderful friend you were. You are greatly missed.
Posted by Linda Huson on August 4, 2019
Joanne...It is so hard for me to fathom that you've now been gone from this earth and my life for two long years. I miss you so very much....

Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 4, 2019
What can I say? I've been without my heart for two years now, miss you so much.
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on August 4, 2019
Two years is far too long to not have you with us. We love you and miss you every day.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on May 13, 2019
Happy Anniversary, Jo. You're still the only one. Love you forever.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on February 13, 2019
On this Valentine's Day I find myself missing you more than ever. Have a Happy Valentine's Day, and I'll be with you someday again. I love you, Jo.
Posted by Linda Huson on December 25, 2018
Merry Christmas Joanne. Your second in Heaven. This is my Mom's first holiday there...  Missing you both so much....
Posted by Dennis Thayer on December 25, 2018
Merry Christmas to my dear wife and love. I will be with you some day. Until then, I miss you terribly.
Posted by Linda Huson on August 17, 2018
Your second birthday in heaven... Just wanted to let you know that my Mom passed away on Monday - August 13th... if you see her - tell her hello for me.
I miss you both so much!
Posted by Andrea Rodarte on August 15, 2018
Missing you with tears streaming down my face. Joanne, you were brave, smart, kind, generous, creative, a devoted wife and mother...and very loved by so many.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2018
Happy Birthday, Joanne! We love and miss you so much. We're going to your favorite "fancy" restaurant, Crumpets to celebrate you. I'll raise a glass to your memory, young girl.
Posted by Tom Price on August 4, 2018
We so treasure the time that we spent with Joanne.  We so enjoyed our visit to Arizona in 1997, and to San Antonio in 2005, as well as all the times that we hooked up while you guys were back East. Cyndie really misses her. The family keeps getting smaller. We hold the memories dear to our hearts. She was taken away too soon. Cyndie and I send our love to you and Jacqueline.
Posted by Linda Huson on August 4, 2018
All I can say is...I miss you Joanne....
Linda Huson
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 4, 2018
So today marks one year since Jo's passing. We all miss her lovely smile and sense of humor, and I can't say that the passage of time makes things any easier, but we adapt and look forward to that time when we'll be rejoined as a family.
We miss you, Joey.
Posted by Andrea Rodarte on June 7, 2018
As we did every year for 17 years, I'm wishing my dear friend Joanne a Happy Birth Day, in recognition of her beautiful daughter, Jacqueline's birthday. Jacqueline is my birthday twin and Joanne always sent this special Birth Day greeting to my mom. Missing you dear friend.
Posted by Linda Huson on March 6, 2018
I've been watching the videos Dennis puts on here. I sit here smiling - with tears running down my face. I've enjoyed seeing all of the photos of Joanne throughout the years...
missing her so much....
Posted by Jackie Mandzak on January 7, 2018
Over the holidays I had many opportunities to remember Joanne. Well over a decade of Christmas swap ornaments from our CHL ornament swap were carefully unwrapped and enjoyed.  I have a little pillow ornament with a cross stitch lighthouse that sits in my bathroom year round. And as I put my office together, a framed card of a blue heron sits where I can see it. 

But I think the best thoughts of all were the ones I had as we set up our first blow-up yard decoration.  All I could hear in my head was her voice asking me what on earth I was doing. She hated those blow up decorations. 
Posted by Elizabeth Jamison on November 20, 2017
I met Joanne thru her heading up the yearbook publication at ENAACT. Each of my oldest daughters was mentored by her as the editor, in successive years. I feel very privileged not only for them to have been under her mentorship in learning new skills and having her guidance in stretching their capabilities in this role; but I feel most blessed in their just getting to spend time with Joanne, herself. Her fun loving nature, kindness, patience, and insight were gifts to my children. My two girls who were mentored by her on the yearbook, are now both confident young women, each with careers in multifaceted communication and/or organizational areas of city and state. My personal memories of Joanne will always be sweet.
Posted by Rebecca Fox on November 20, 2017
Joanne was my first boss lady at the Village Voice and was awesome and patient with my teenaged, spoiled self. She had an open heart and home. I always enjoyed our holiday gatherings in NJ. Even after I left the Voice she was so good at staying in touch. I will never forget you Joanne❤️✝️
Posted by Nancy Clare on August 25, 2017
I met Joanne in 1977 when she came to Village Voice. She was in charge of all advertising billing and an expert on the application used for it. I was at New York Magazine, in charge of computer there. We became friends and in days of expense accounts enjoyed some pleasant lunches in the VIllage. The Voice was then in funny, old building, where elevator got stuck frequently, later moved to updated quarters. During our friendship, we both made some moves, but never lost touch. I am fortunate to have known her father and grandparents, who were great people. Joanne and Dennis visited me in a few NJ locations after I moved from the City. The last time I saw her was when they lived in Maryland, before San Antonio. I was pleased to see her magazine and her work with homeschool organizations. I shall miss her friendship.
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 23, 2017
Thank you so much for that moving prayer, Pastor. Please know that you have fulfilled one of Joanne's last requests, and may help her soul be at peace in the arms of our Lord. And as one of her closest friends and life guides it means so much to Jacquelyn and me, too. God bless you.
Posted by Jeffray Greene on August 23, 2017
A friend, a fellow sojourner in this life, a co-worker in the church for a time. It has been a privilege to walk alongside Joanne. No words are ever adequate to the task of addressing death, yet words are sometimes all there are other than the inner groans too deep for words. In that vein, a simple prayer before the One who made all things.
“Lord God, what a privilege to walk alongside another who has received your amazing grace. Though are hearts are grieved for awhile, she now rests in the church triumphant and in Your Mighty and Eternal arms of mercy. We grieve, but not as those with no hope, for our Redeemer lives and because He lives, we know that we too shall stand before Him one day filled with the eternal glory you have written in our hearts. Father, comfort those who mourn. Holy Spirit, confirm in those who walk by faith. In all things and at all times, help us to be thankful for the gift of those whom we love and are privileged to know. Thank You for sharing Joanne with us. Help us amidst the sorrow to be comforted in this age in the truth of the age to come, through Your Son, the One through whom all things came into being, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Posted by Linda Huson on August 14, 2017
Happy Birthday Joanne......miss you...

Linda in VA
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2017
Today is Joanne's 67th birthday.

Happy birthday, old girl. I love you very much. Rest well, I'll see you again. Den Den
Posted by Susan Compton on August 11, 2017
I have spent many hours thinking of what to write about Joanne. It is hard to know where to start. I first "met" Joanne when I joined her Creative Home Life group 16 years ago. Many members have come and gone but several of us have been there for many years. We share our hopes, our wishes, our dreams, our sorrows, our disappointments, etc....Joanne always knew how to bring comfort with her words and encouragement. She and I shared a love of new calendars, especially around the time of a new school year. Joanne would often say that she liked to try new adventures every two years or so. She started her cross stitch business and I was always amazed at her talent. Then, she started the online magazine. She enjoyed that so much with the planning and she always shared with us what her focused would be. We traveled with her on the road trips and she and Jacquelyn would take. They were always adventurous the way that Joanne wrote about each day. Then, the love of bald eagles became a topic of conversation for her. She was thrilled over her new camera and taking pictures of them. We were right there with her. Dennis, she always was singing your praises and how you would help her when you were home. We often would ask her questions to ask you for your expert advice! Jacquelyn, you grew up with all of us as she told us about your accomplishments! We all felt very much part of your life and are so proud of the young woman you have become. Have no doubt that for your mother, you will always be her shining star! She was my friend, who was only an email away. I miss her terribly but know that she continues to be with me in my thoughts and prayers. Joanne, you are loved and will be missed by us all. You all are in my prayers.
Posted by Tammy Lott on August 11, 2017
I knew Joanne online for 18 years as part of CHL, one of her Yahoo email groups. We were able to meet several years ago when I was in central Texas visiting family
It was a lovely afternoon spent driving around Austin. We met at a shopping mall, and my daughter and I just jumped into her car with her and off we went. I knew we were going to be friends (besides CHL) when she had classic 70s rock music on her car radio. LOL.
She took us to one of her favorite bookstores, and a needlework shop she wanted to check out. We walked around downtown and had lunch in a little bar/café we found not far from the bookstore. I’m a small-town girl and she was wanting to show me a good time in a big city, so we did a little driving tour of the Austin as well. Then we ended up back at the mall where she and I sat in the food court and chatted for a couple more hours while Jessica checked out the stores.
I also had the privilege of writing for her online magazine. She was very supportive and always excited about the articles I submitted.
Joanne had many friends and I consider myself fortunate to have been one of them.
When I think of Joanne, I think of a quote she posted years ago on CHL:
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
I’ve recited that quote to myself a gazillion times when I needed support. I looked it up, and it comes from 14th century English author Julian of Norwich. I think this other quote from her kind of sums up Joanne’s life as well: “The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love."
Joanne did live gladly and she gave gladly and will be sorely missed by us all.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Linda Huson on August 14, 2022
I still miss you so very much! So many times I think of things I want to tell you... Happy Birthday. Say hello to my Mom... 
Posted by Kelly Wagoner on August 14, 2022
Happy birthday Jo! I hope you are enjoying your special day. We miss you. ❤️
Posted by Dennis Thayer on August 14, 2022
Happy birthday, sweetheart! All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.
her Life


Thanksgiving was always one of the top holidays for Joanne. She would plan numerous side dishes for a massive Thanksgiving feast for Jacquelyn and I, but honestly all I wanted was the turkey, potatoes and gravy. And of course, the pumpkin pie! But she and Jacquelyn loved sides, and if she forgot to make or serve one or two of them, they still had plenty to choose from. All from old family recipes and all delicious.

Of course the real meaning of the holiday is to be thankful for what you have. Unfortunately the other lesson is that we're reminded of what we once had, but no longer have.

I am thankful that I was able to love and be with Joanne for 35 years, but frankly it's miserable without her.

Happy Thanksgiving Joey. Enjoy those sides at your feast and don't worry about forgetting the green beans.

Recent stories

A True Friend

Shared by Andrea Rodarte on August 14, 2022
In 2009/2010 my son, about to be a junior in college, was flying to Italy to attend a summer session. It was his first time flying to Europe. He was 18 yrs old. Joanne was in Texas. I was in CA. We had been on line friends for 10 years at that time. Joanne taught me how to navigate the flight site and track his flights that night. She stayed up with me ALL NIGHT until he made it by plane, train and taxi to his destination. 
Joanne did the same thing for me the first time he flew to Lima Peru laterthat year. She was a true friend and I miss her sunny caring sprit everyday.

Want to visit Highland Cemetery?

Shared by Dennis Thayer on December 18, 2021
If you find yourself in (or near) Central New Jersey, why not take a ride out to Hopelawn, to Highland Cemetery, and see Joanne's memorial marker, and the graves of her mother, Mildred Melnichak and Joanne's first husband, Gene Fidler? It's a beautiful drive, and well worth the trip. This can help you to find the stones:

For you, Jo

Shared by Dennis Thayer on March 8, 2020
Just enjoy. Miscellaneous pictures of Jo.

Music: The Beatles, For You Blue