Former GH school official remembered as ‘genuine’

John Thatcher left a "very positive mark' on the Grand Haven Area Public Schools district, said Superintendent Keith Konarska.
Lydia Coutré
Dec 31, 2011

Thatcher, former assistant superintendent of human resources for GHAPS, died at his home in Hudsonville on Thursday. He was 65.

“I think he was admired by those that worked with him for his incredible faith and positive nature,” Konarska said.

Thatcher retired from his position at the end of the last school year. According to a Bucs’ Blade article, he was diagnosed in November 2010 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Amy Cahalan, president of the Grand Haven Education Association, said Thatcher will be sadly missed.

“He always did what was right,” she said. “It wasn’t always the popular thing to do. We didn’t always agree, but he did what was right.”

Cahalan often sat across from Thatcher at the contract bargaining table, “which is quite often an adversarial position, but I would say truthfully that I would mark him as one of my good friends in life.”

She said Thatcher was first and foremost a father and husband — a true family man.

“He was very outgoing, always had a genuine smile and genuinely cared about people,” she said. “He just brought warmth to any situation, any gathering."

To read more of this story, see Saturday's edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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