Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Melanie Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
BRUNSWICK – Sherry Thacker, a successful business owner with deep Southern roots, who gave generously to the communities she lived in, died unexpectedly on Oct. 6. She was 70.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
She co-owned and operated two Arby's franchises, in Topsham and Waterville, with her husband, Richard Thacker. Arby's is a fast food restaurant known for its roast beef sandwiches.
The Thackers have operated four franchises since the late 1980s, including an Arby's at Cook's Corner in Brunswick.
Her husband talked on Wednesday about her role at the restaurant and the connections she made with customers.
He said she was primarily in charge of marketing, advertising and promotions, and wrote copy for radio and television ads for their businesses.
Richard Thacker said she also enjoyed working the french fry station and talking to the young people who work for them.
"She got a real kick out of working with them," he said. "She often kidded, 'I know everything about them -- even their birthdays.' She never met a stranger."
Mrs. Thacker's warmth and compassion for others stemmed in part from growing up in a large family in Memphis, Tenn.
Her husband reminisced about the day they met. He joined a Navy friend on a quest to find a couple of girls his friend knew. One of those girls was Sherry Robbins.
Dressed in his Navy whites, Richard Thacker walked across her lawn and knocked on the door to ask her on a date. She said yes. The couple went to the movies that Saturday night and quickly fell in love.
About a year later, the Thackers got married. She was 19 and he was 20 years old.
The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Sept. 1. They spent the day at Cobbossee Lake with their two children and four grandchildren.
Her husband talked about their early years together -- when she was an elementary school teacher and he was a naval aviator.
They traveled to England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, and lived in Iceland for two years.
Richard Thacker said that during his six-month tour of duty in Vietnam, she wrote him a letter every day.
Mrs. Thacker was a teacher on and off for about 20 years. She taught in Iceland, California, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia and Maine.
"She was an accomplished elementary school teacher," her husband said. "She really enjoyed teaching kids how to read. She took great pride in that."
The Thackers bought a house in Brunswick in the early 1980s.
They bought their first Arby's franchise after he retired in 1986.
Through her work for the franchise, Thacker got involved in several local organizations. She served on the Arby's Big Brothers/Big Sisters scholarship selection committee.
She was also active on the board of directors for the Friends of the Cobbosee Watershed.
Around Oct. 4, the couple left Maine to drive to Florida, where they wintered for the past 10 years. They drove for two days and spent the night at a hotel along their route. On Oct. 5, she suddenly became short of breath and suffered a heart attack. Paramedics revived her, but she died the next day.
Her husband said he will miss her warmth and friendship.
"I have my moments," he said. "If I keep busy, I'm better off. My two boys are here with me, and they are strong and they help."
Her wake will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal St. in Brunswick.
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: