In Loving Memory

John Thatcher

A "banana peddler" as he liked to describe himself, passed away after a long illness on October 18, 2019, in Miami, Florida. Born in Atlanta on August 20, 1927, to Samuel E. and Mary West Thatcher, he and his family moved to Miami when he was a boy. His many friends and business associates saw in him a man of great intelligence, integrity, and benevolence, all packaged in a fine sense of humor. Although John's early education was in Miami, he went to high school at Darlington School in Rome, Georgia. John credited Darlington with the teaching, discipline, and values that defined his life. He was a generous supporter of the school, both financially and personally, and served for many years on its board of trustees. Darlington named him a Life Trustee and in 1990 a Distinguished Alumnus of Darlington School. In 2009, Darlington built a new building for its Middle School and named it "Thatcher Hall." Following graduation from Darlington, John briefly attended Georgia Tech but later transferred to Davidson College. As with Darlington, so it was with Davidson College: John was a faithful and generous alumnus. Among other things, he served on Davidson's board of trustees, endowed a faculty "chair" in honor of his parents, and created scholarships for undergraduates. On May 21, 1995, Davidson awarded him Doctor of Law, honoris causa. An Army ROTC student at Davidson, John graduated too late to serve in World War II. But when the next war broke out, the Army deployed him as a Second Lieutenant to Korea. He soon saw ferocious combat and was seriously wounded. He received the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, and Korean Campaign ribbons. After returning home, John continued in the Army Reserves, earning several awards for meritorious service and a term at the Army's Command & General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After recovering from his wounds in Korea, John began his life's career at Banana Supply Co. Inc. He started at the bottom, worked in the warehouse, drove delivery trucks and supervised the unloading of banana ships. He learned every facet of the business and gained a first-hand insight into the lives of its employees. Ultimately, he became its president. Under his direction, the company grew from its modest beginnings to an organization that operated a fleet of ships, trucks, rows of refrigerated warehouses, and branch offices in West Palm Beach, Orlando and Bradenton, Florida, the first vertically integrated banana supply and distribution business in the country. John put the customer first, both in service and pricing, and he treated his employees fairly. While John was President of Banana Supply Company, there were no personnel layoffs. Dealing with a perishable product, shipping delays, hurricanes, and personnel left John little time for personal pleasure with the exception of his life-long love of golf, which he played and studied, and his faithful work as a Presbyterian layperson. Following the death of his parents, John created the Samuel E. & Mary W. Thatcher Foundation, Inc. in their honor. From that point to this day, the foundation supports schools, missionaries and missionary organizations, churches, community funds, youth groups and other charities, locally and all over the world. John recognized that God had richly blessed him and that it was not only his duty but a source of joy to give to others. Although John was not survived by any in his more immediate family (He was predeceased by his parents, Samuel E. and Mary W. Thatcher, and his brother, Samuel E. Thatcher, Jr.), he was survived by a very special group of friends too many to mention in this brief space. Chief among them, however, were Jacqueline Eads, William Jordan, and Zilphia Anderson. Ms. Eads and John served together on the board of Greater Miami Youth For Christ and enjoyed many rounds of golf together; Mr. Jordan was John's executive vice-president at Banana Supply and, after its sale, Bill helped John run the foundation; and Mrs. Anderson was his devoted housekeeper and chef. A memorial service for John will be held on November 8, 2019 at 11:00 A. M. at Granada Presbyterian Church, 950 University Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33134. John Thatcher was an extraordinary man! Miami Youth for Christ was blessed to have him serve on our board for nearly 50 years. His generous donation of time and finances is unprecedented in our history and we are grieved to say goodbye to such a champion yet rejoice to see him set free from sickness and restored in the presence of the Savior he served. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Thatcher requested that donations be made to Miami Youth for Christ.

Jackie Eads

Was a champion of young people, embodying unconditional love and acceptance for all. She was born in Denver, Colorado and came to Miami at a young age. Her parents also had Judy, Jackie's dear sister who was by her side throughout her life and until the very end. Jackie passed away on October 31, 2019. From an early age, it was evident that she would be committed to Christ in everything she did. She attended the University of Maryland, where she became a Kappa Kappa Gamma, a sorority in which she was involved beyond her college years. Her career path led her to Miami Coral Park Senior High School in 1963 where she was the Activities Director for over 40 years. During that time, she was a teacher, mother-figure, mentor, and friend to countless young people. "Miss Eads" had the unique ability to make each person feel thoroughly loved and unconditionally accepted. She deeply touched the hearts of all her students, and many continued to be blessed by her encouragement and involvement in their lives long after graduating high school. Jackie was a role model to all, freely sharing God's love and showing how to love not just with words but with deeds.Although she never had the opportunity to become a "Mom", God gave her children that would be part of her life forever. Besides her career, which required work beyond the bell including evenings and weekends, Jackie's passion to bring young people closer to Christ led to her involvement in Youth for Christ. Jackie first got involved with YFC in 1977 when students formed a Coral Park Campus Life Club. She volunteered faithfully and through her service, she met the love of her life, John Thatcher. Together they impacted so many people with the love of Jesus Christ through YFC and countless other worthy causes. In 2006, she became the first female board member of Youth for Christ and served faithfully to her last breath; so much so that when Jackie got sick a few weeks ago, the President of Youth for Christ/USA published a tribute to her that included the challenge "to live Jackie." To live Jackie is to live for Jesus and to live for others in all the little ways: a card, a gift, a cup of coffee, a smile, a text. She was relentless in her thoughtfulness and love for others and for nearly 50 years, Miami Youth for Christ was the recipient of her affection and attention. Her deepest desire was that everyone she knew would embrace the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, the simple, powerful and transformative Gospel that defined her. If you want to "live Jackie", you only need to embrace 10 words: Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. The staff team of Miami YFC is committed to honoring her life by "living Jackie" and sharing that simple message with every teenager in Miami. Jackie Eads was absolutely the most generous, thoughtful and genuinely joyful person known. She was a true champion of teenagers, not only as the Activities Director at Coral Park High but also as a cheerleader, advocate, volunteer and board member for Miami Youth for Christ, Granada Day School and the Agape Network. Additionally, Jackie was a devout member of Granada Presbyterian Church since 1971. Her involvement in the church included being a member of various community groups. She also taught both in the Lois/Ruth Circle and Sunday School to teenagers. Jackie Eads lived a life where God's presence was felt wherever she was. May all who were blessed to have known her, even if for a brief moment, continue to "live Jackie." Celebration of Life for Jackie Eads is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th, promptly at 6:30 PM at Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables. In lieu of flowers, Jackie requested donations to Youth for Christ, which may be mailed to: Youth For Christ, PO Box 561101, Miami, Florida 33256.