• Maria Thacker Goethe, MPH

5 Years Later, Dad's Legacy

Updated: Apr 17, 2018

Five years...how did that happen? Time is a friend one day and an enemy the next.  It is hard to believe that time has flown by this quickly.  I know that most who experience loss of any type, have this sentiment. The past five years have allowed for some healing and growing, but grief has a funny way of popping up when you least expect it.  This anniversary of dad's passing was one of those times.


We visit dad's burial site each year for his birthday, anniversary and for father's day. Last week, I brought my 1 year old daughter Cecilia. I realized as I was driving out to Honeycreek Woodlands, that as a new mom, I have to think about how I teach her about her grandfather. I want her to know dad. Like her cousin Noah, I want her to see his photo know that, that is Grandpa Steve.  We will of course tell her about his interests like basketball, baseball, reading, movies and much more; but I believe it is important for her to understand his beliefs in effecting change and making an impact on this world no matter how small.

Our family is lucky in that dad had such a large community that loved him and who help to keep his memory alive. To this day, we run into people from time to time that tell us about a remembrance they had about dad, or challenge that wish they could ask him for advice on. It is something that we are grateful for.


I think that it is important to remember our loved ones, their history and learn from that experience. (That loved one could be a family member, a mentor...really anyone that is significant in life.) If I think back to dad there are so many things I could talk to my daughter about. In the end though, I think even more than stories about his travels, studies, hobbies, and work...the basic principles in life I learned from dad (and mom) apply to many of us and I hope to teach my daughter these same things:

  • Be kind

  • Be grateful

  • Give back

  • Be humble

  • Empower yourself and others

  • Take responsibility

  • Embrace equity and diversity

  • Life isn’t fair

  • Learn from your failures

  • Take care of yourself.... physically and mentally

  • Put family first (that could mean #chosenfamily)

  • Pay it forward

There are many more I am sure, but at the moment, those are what I could think of.

Sometimes looking back at those people who have positively influenced us and talking about them can re-center us. I intend to always remember dad and anyone else who influences me and my family.


In that spirit, I hope that you will consider giving to the CJD Foundation to enable their mission to educate and support research and families about this terrible disease; or my dad’s fund at the CDC Foundation. Dad’s legacy is more than a library or a summer camp. I believe he would prefer the teens who attend the camp be inspired to go out into life and try to change the world for the better.


This in year particular we hope you have a few dollars to spare. The family is matching up to $5,000 for the Stephen B. Thacker Fund which we hope can go towards expanding the camps to reach more young people, and maybe even a scholarship for those need based students who would otherwise not be able to participate.


Cecilia Visiting Grandpa Steve

© 2018 IN MEMORY OF STEPHEN B. THACKER

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