Richard Lee ThackerFebruary 20, 1955 ~ May 14, 2017 (age 62)
Richard, or “Ricky” as he was affectionately known, was a wanderer, a wonderer, an adventurer, a thinker, a philosopher, a conversationalist, and an overall seeker of truths. He cared deeply for his friends, family, and neighbors, and embraced every opportunity to help them. He was a teller of tales, a fisher of men, a mover of mountains, and a shaper of stone. Richard lived life with an unbridled passion. He loved the natural world, loved to work, and loved to teach. He carried a song in his heart, a tune on his lips, and a fierce curiosity to understand the world around him. As a stone mason he took on challenging projects and made them into beautifully functional pieces of art. Richard took the utmost pride in his work and strived instilled that value in the many young people who worked for him over the years. He believed people to be inherently good. He gave many people a chance to help themselves become better, stronger, more confident individuals through hard work. He loved to see people succeed and loved to lift them up in their successes. Richard was an honest, open soul with a famously loud voice and a voracious appetite for coffee. He loved conversation, he loved different perspectives, he loved to dream, and he loved to play chess. He also loved the mountains of Northeast Georgia and we know he was happy to find eternal rest in the bosom of these hills.
Born February 20, 1955 at Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta, GA, Richard attended elementary school at the Nacoochee School in Sautee, and later White County Middle and High Schools. In 10th grade he joined the Army and was stationed in Germany, where he began learning the trade of masonry from local street cobblers. Masonry would become his life’s work and his beautiful touch can be found in many projects around the state. After returning from service, Richard ran a health food store in Helen before traveling to Alaska. He returned to Jefferson, GA for a spell before moving back to Clarkesville, GA in 1981. In 1982, he took a job on a BP oil rig and found himself working in the North Sea as a crane operator. In 1985 he returned to GA for good and resumed his work as a stone mason around the state, which he pursued until his final days. Richard was a guiding light and a helping hand to anyone who needed it.
Richard is preceded in death by his mother, Barbara Ann Matheson Westmoreland, and his step-father, Jere Westmoreland. He is survived by his wife, Christy Thacker, his siblings Leon Simmons (Jean), Dona K Burke, Jere Lynn Whitfield (Matt), and Jay Westmoreland (Kim), his children and step-children Jesse Huff, Christopher Thacker, Issac Thacker, Shaddai Thacker, Stephany Unck, Christopher Unck, Cova Queen, and Teddi Sirum, and his 8 grandchildren.
There will be a potluck and celebration of life honoring Richard on Monday, May 29th from 3pm-8pm at the Sautee-Nacoochee Center Gymnasium. Family members will say a few words at 5pm. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to go to the Sautee-Nacoochee Center (snca.org) or Smile Train (smiletrain.org) as those were both important organizations to Richard.