Richard W. Thavis

Born: Sat., Jul. 24, 1920
Died: Sat., Aug. 29, 2020


Private Services


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Former Mankato resident Richard W. Thavis, 100, died peacefully Aug. 29, 2020, at New Perspective Senior Living in Highland Park, St. Paul. Because of COVID restrictions, the family plans a private service and burial at Woodland Hills Memorial Park in Mankato, MN.

Richard was born July 24, 1920, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Roberta and John P. Thavis. He had two older siblings, Mary and Jack. Following the death of his father, the family moved from Chicago to the Mankato area in 1932. Richard graduated from Loyola High School at the age of 16 and, after two years out West with the Civilian Conservation Corps, found accounting jobs in Idaho. He enlisted in the Navy at the start of World War II. Thanks to a Navy officer training program, he graduated from the University of Virginia in 1945.

He met his future wife, Alice Murphy, in Boston on Armistice Day that year. They married on June 25, 1949, and then traveled west to settle in Mankato. After a series of jobs, including at Kato Beer, Shari Candy and his own Colonial Candy Company, Richard started an accounting firm, Professional Systems of Mankato, and eventually retired from the business in the 1980s.

Retirement opened new chapters for Richard. An avid bowler and table tennis player for much of his life, he excelled at three-cushion billiards in his later years. He wrote children’s stories and travel journals, learned about fine wine and uncorked many good bottles, and visited Italy several times. He took up Italian cooking. His specialty was pasta – which had to be cooked al dente – and his personal favorite was spaghetti with clams. He did not shy away from modernity, and even at the age of 100 often perused Facebook, Twitter and his email account.

Richard and Alice were longtime members of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic parish in Mankato, and later Holy Rosary parish in North Mankato. In 2016, the couple moved into assisted living in St. Paul. Richard was dedicated to his wife in many ways, and at the time of his death the two had celebrated 71 years of marriage.

In addition to his wife, Alice, he is survived by his three children, John M. Thavis of St. Paul, MN, Susan (Gary) Roberts of Laporte, MN, and Robert (Juliann Geis) Thavis of Mendota Heights, MN; by grandchildren Andrew Roberts, Hilary Thavis, Brian Thavis, Alan Thavis, Christina Thavis and Rebecca Thavis; by great-granddaughter Kiah (Roberts) White; and by several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary (Thavis) Krost, and his brother, John P. Thavis.

The family wishes any donations to go Our Lady of Peace Hospice Care, 2076 St. Anthony Ave, St Paul, MN 55104, or to a favorite charity. Condolences can be sent to the family in care of Woodland Hills Funeral Home, 1605 Woodland Ave, Mankato, MN 56001.

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