Robert Helyer Thayer

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Robert Helyer Thayer

Birthplace: Southborough, MA, USA
Death: Died in Washington, DC, USA
Cause of death: leukemia
Place of Burial: Southborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. William Greenough Thayer ("Twill") and Violet Thayer
Husband of Virginia Thayer
Father of <private> Thayer; <private> Thayer and <private> Thayer
Brother of Violet Otis Parker; William Greenough Thayer, Jr.; Lieutenant Sigourney Thayer; James Appleton Thayer; Margaret Suydam and 1 other

Occupation: Lawyer, naval officer and diplomat
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Robert Helyer Thayer

Robert Helyer Thayer (22 September 1901 – 26 January 1984) was an American lawyer, naval officer and diplomat.


Early life

Thayer was born in Southborough, Massachusetts, the son of Rev. William Greenough Thayer (1863–1934), headmaster of St. Mark's School from 1894–1930, and Violet Otis Thayer (1871–1962). He attended St. Mark's School, then studied for degrees from Amherst College and Harvard University. His elder brother, Sigourney Thayer (1896–1944), was a theatrical producer, aviator and poet.

Legal career

Thayer practiced law in New York City under Gen William Joseph Donovan.

Thayer assisted Charles Lindbergh's lead lawyer, Henry Skillman Breckinridge on the famous Lindbergh kidnapping case in 1932, staying at the Charles A Lindbergh residence in Hopewell, New Jersey, until the body of the child was found on 12 May 1932. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for this crime in 1936.

Naval career

During World War II, Thayer was commissioned in the US Navy. He was an intelligence officer in the South Pacific early in the war and then went to Europe, where he took part in the invasions of Normandy and southern France. He returned to the Pacific in time for the invasion of the Philippines.

Diplomatic career

In 1945, he was an assistant to John Foster Dulles, who became secretary of state in the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, at the organizing conference of the United Nations at San Francisco.

In 1950, he began his formal career in diplomacy, as an assistant to the US Ambassador to France. From 1955 – 1958, US minister to Romania and then went to the State Department as assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs.

Later life

Thayer was appointed a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1966 and was vice-chairman from 1975 – 1977.

He died in Washington DC on January 26, 1984 of leukemia.

Personal life

He married Virginia Pratt (1905–1979) in 1926. She was the daughter of lawyer, financier and philanthropist John Teele Pratt and Congresswoman Ruth Baker Pratt.

They had three children:

1.Robert H. Thayer, Jr.
2.Stephen Badger Thayer
3.Sally Sears Thayer

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Robert Helyer Thayer's Timeline

September 22, 1901
Southborough, MA, USA
January 26, 1984
Age 82
Washington, DC, USA
Age 82
Southborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States