Vernon R. Thalacker, 85, of Eau Claire passed away after a sudden illness on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at Milestone Senior Living.

Vernon was born on April 20, 1933 in Black River Falls, WI the son of Robert Franz and Grace E. (Longsdorf) Thalacker. His family moved to Eau Claire when he was nine years old. He graduated from Memorial High School in 1951. Vernon started college at UW-Eau Claire but ended up enlisting with the Army Security Agency. He honorably served three years amongst the United States, Japan, and Korea. After the service, Vernon became a Trooper on the Wisconsin State Patrol.

In 1957, Vernon married Kathryn Irene Smith at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. A daughter and son were born while living in Chippewa Falls. While living in Menomonie, their second son was born. Vernon was later hired by the Interstate Commerce Commission in Milwaukee. Uncle Sam changed the ICC, into the U.S. Department of Transportation; Vernon was ultimately assigned the territory of Minnesota. Vernon reached his goal of 33 years with the Federal Service before retiring in 1994.

After living in several communities throughout Wisconsin, the family decided to mover back to the Eau Claire area, where they lived on the north side for several years before moving into the Good Shepherd Senior Apartments in 2009.

Vernon became an active member of the National Active & Retired Federal Employee’s Association (NARFE) and served as President of the Wisconsin Chapter for seven consecutive years. Vernon and Kathryn traveled in all the 50 States, Mexico, and three of the Canadian Providences. The family enjoyed itself on many summer trips wherever they travelled. Vernon especially enjoyed spending time with family and friends playing card games, watching movies, eating out at restaurants, or just spending time together.

Vernon is survived by his wife of 61 years, Kathryn; his daughter, Barbara (David) Sluis Sr. of Shelby Township, MI; his sons, Richard of New Richmond, WI and Steven of Sparks, NV; five grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren; his youngest brother, Bernard of Greeley, CO; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Vernon was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Franz and Grace Elizabeth Thalacker, and his brother, Dennis.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 11:00 am at Hope United Methodist Church with Rev. Hyejung Hwang officiating. Visitation will take place on Monday, September 10, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Smith Funeral Chapel as well as an hour prior to services at church on Tuesday. Burial will follow services at Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire with Military Honors preformed by the American Legion Post 53. Friends and family can leave condolences online at



  1. So sorry for Vern’s passing. Many memories of our families camping together and our days at Washington Park Lutheran Church. I wish we were closer to you.

  2. So sorry to hear of Vernon’s passing. Appreciate the many family reunions he and Kathryn helped plan and the Thalacker history book. Thank you also for your service to our country. Thoughts and prayers to the family. R.I.P

  3. My deepest sympathy to Kathryn & family on the loss of Vernon; he was truly a nice guy & a great leader of NARFE; my thoughts & prayers are with you

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