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In loving memory of
Roger Knackstedt Thalacker
  • September 05, 1939
  • -
  • November 30, 2020

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Roger Knackstedt Thalacker, departed this earth peacefully on November 30, 2020, rising up to join his sons, Brian and Kent, along with God in heaven. He took his last breaths surrounded by his close family that loved him immensely. Roger was born to the late Reverend Chester Thalacker and Leona (Knackstedt) Thalacker on September 5, 1939 in Iron Mountain, Michigan. The youngest of three, Roger was somewhat of a passive child, however that all changed in his teenage years. With his older sisters, Patricia (Meier) and Karen (Menzel) out of the house and his father busy running a large Lutheran congregation in Detroit, shy Roger developed into quite the extroverted character as part of Detroit Lutheran High School’s Class of 1957. How the guy voted “noisiest” and “biggest feet” landed Carole (Dahel) Thalacker, the love of his life and voted “most popular,” is still a mystery to all of us! Perhaps she was drawn to him because he tied her shoelaces together when she fell asleep on the high school bus trip, or because he got her kicked out of class for lobbing a snowball at her one cold winter day as she sat innocently at her desk. Whatever it was that drew them together, they knew it was certainly true love and they soon began their 63-year journey together. Everyone would agree they were a match made in heaven. Their ability to laugh with, at and about each other and especially at themselves was the hallmark of their life together.

Roger was a Detroit all-conference football player in high school and also played at his alma mater, Valparaiso University. 1961 was a big year for Roger as he graduated college in May, began his job as Assistant Alumni director the following day (a job he held for two years before becoming Valparaiso’s Alumni Director) and married Carole three months later. Baby chatterbox and troublemaker Kent arrived on the scene 10 months after that, followed by Kent’s aggressive but loving bodyguard, Kevin, 15 months later. Gentle and good-hearted Brian arrived in 1967. Unfortunately, Carole and Roger’s aspirations for starting a boys’ basketball team were abruptly shattered when they were surprisingly blessed with a daughter, Brenda, in 1971. The family lived in Valparaiso for ten years before making the move to Connecticut in late 1971.

The Thalacker home was never quiet. In those early years, many nights were spent with little boys running in circles through the house as Carole tried to catch them and discovering Roger, perched up on the washing machine, hitting them with a squirt gun as they ran by screaming. The years rushed by with Roger leading the Thalacker charge, and a blur of crazy times and continuous laughter ensued. Building dad forts with the couch cushions, long car trips to Florida in a car too small to fit all of them, camping trips at Misquamicut, sporting events with dad coaching while mom worked the snack bar all proceeded. The family even had a wood burning stove in the house (like the colonists) and the whole family was forced by Roger to cut down their own trees to fuel this stove like “Abe Lincoln did” as he would say with laughter. Christmases were always a hilarious commotion with Roger having a hard time giving the fun new toys back to his kids after he played with them. The Thalacker house became the place all the kids’ friends wanted to be at as Roger and Carole was known as “everyone’s parents” for all that visited. Roger tried to never miss a sports game for his kids, even if he was kicked out by the referee for being a “passionate spectator”. The family, along with the only dog in America named Dorcus (aptly named by Roger for reasons unknown) had spent many happy years in their split-level yellow home on a wooded cul-de-sac in Coventry, Connecticut. Roger spent his free time building go karts and treehouses for the kids, constructing multiple decks off the back of the house and dressing with Carole as crazy characters for the infamous Halloween parties spent with friends. Carole and Roger’s fun-loving friends were wonderful companions, especially their buddies Roy & Barb Awe, whom they were close with for over 70 years. Roger, Carole and their countless friends (too many to mention but never forgotten) spent most of their time laughing when they were together. No one will forget his infamous mystery punch nor the crazy pranks he would play on them.

After a successful ten year stint at Valparaiso University, Roger spent twenty-three years as Alumni Director for the University of Connecticut. He spearheaded the effort to design, fundraise and build the Alumni House at UConn as well as raising money for the renowned Johnathan husky statue that has since become the symbol of UConn. Roger was named Honorary Alumnus in 1981. He was the Chairman of CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) where he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1987. He also was the recipient of the State of Connecticut Legislative Service Award in 1991. Upon retirement, UConn named Roger Director Emeritus in 1995.

He moved to Florida at the age of 55 where he enjoyed 25 years of well-earned retirement. He liked to paint beautiful landscape art, enjoyed outdoor work around the house, and watch (but always fall asleep to) Disney movies with all his grandkids. He was always cracking jokes and was the best Hand and Foot card player one would ever meet. He loved eating breakfast at the diner, working at the crack of dawn, napping after lunchtime, and putting ketchup on almost everything. He wouldn’t hesitate to help with anything anyone needed and always took the time to do so. He was a deeply religious Lutheran church member and served on countless church committees as well as serving as an elder at his church in Punta Gorda. He enjoyed history and could outwit anyone at presidential trivia, and loved visiting as many Presidential libraries as humanly possible. Roger and his grandchildren made Disney World their special place even though he only liked three of the rides. He would spend his day running around to obtain fast passes to ensure a perfect day was had by all. Roger and Carole would hilariously race around the park in their rented scooters by day and treat everyone to spectacular overnights at all the various Disney park hotels. In the summers he would simultaneously listen to the radio while watching his beloved Detroit Tigers on television so that he didn’t miss a play. He could build, wire and fix anything he could get his hands on. He made it his first priority to take amazing care of Carole, always wanting to stay one step ahead of her so he could help if needed. He was a man of great strength and conviction and made everyone around him laugh. He was the guy everyone always wanted to be with. The guy everyone loved.

He spent every summer since childhood on gorgeous Mullett Lake in Michigan. There, in his quaint log cabin cottage with sweeping lake views, he and Carole hosted his children and grandchildren, and countless friends with open arms. Summers were spent riding wave runners and kayaks, playing on the beach, taking long boat rides, and going on adventures to Mackinac Island, Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor for shopping and dining (with white tablecloths of course). He loved counting the deer he would see while driving the dirt roads in upper Michigan. He was an avid boater, and kept a boat docked at the cottage as well as in the canal behind his Punta Gorda, Florida home. The family will all miss his trips across the lake to Indian River, Burt Lake or even through the locks into Lake Huron. The long days with sunsets by the dock and all the fires he made for them under the beautiful Michigan summer stars, they will never forget. The cottage was the place he loved best and where he will have eternal rest.

Roger is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Carole. They had a love that was a light for all. Also left with decades of fond and colorful memories are his children, son Kevin Thalacker (Denise) daughter, Brenda Thalacker Morrison (Richard) and Daughter-In-Law Denise Thalacker. His sons, Brian Thalacker and Kent Thalacker predeceased him in death as well as his sister, Karen (Menzel). He is also survived by his sister Patricia (Meier). He relished his role as Papa to his seven grandchildren: Alison, Kate, Ryan, Jordan, Avery, Tiffani and Finley as well as five step grandchildren: Patrick, Marie, Michael, Chelsea and Bradley.

Roger had experienced the deepest grief possible when he lost both sons during his lifetime. Yet, he had an amazing way of looking at life. When asked by his daughter how it’s even possible to “go on” after someone close dies, Roger matter-of-factly said, “Well, what you do is you put your shoulders back and you live with the living.” This statement is a simple yet powerful reminder of our purpose here on earth. Every time a family member would have to part after a vacation with him, he would jokingly say, “Well, if I don’t see ya, have a good life!!” We will have to take those words and try to fulfill that, for Roger and for the love he gave and taught us. However, we know we will never ever forget Roger nor will we forget how much we all love him. As Roger would most certainly have said after reading this long tribute, “this obituary is way too many words!” so perhaps it is more fitting to simply say “Until we meet again Dad/Papa/Roger….”

Memorials can be sent to Lutheran High School Association of Detroit (https://www.lhsa.com/ways-to-give or mailed to: 1100 Bagley, Rochester Hills, MI 48309) or Faith Lutheran Church (https://faithlutheranpg.com/ or mailed to: 4005 Palm Drive, Punta Gorda, FL 33950.

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  1. John Ruge says:
    28 Dec 2020
    It was fun to have Roger and Carole be our next door neighbors for 10 years in Valpo. Roger's personality was big! I was just a kid back then. Kevin and Kent and I would play army. Our property line was more a concept. We shared side yards and so many laughs. Roger would support our play and often join us. Roger was our cool next door neighbor - a football star, athlete.

    Carole and Roger were just plain fun to be around! A lively loving banter was always occurring between them and they welcomed us to join in. For several years I think Santa had a similar muscular frame as Roger when he appeared at our door!

    I am so thankful to have had the Thalackers as next door neighbors. He added to our lives. He was interested in us kids and knew us. My thoughts and prayers are with Carole, her family and Roger at this time.

  2. Susan (Moore) Labadia says:
    23 Dec 2020
    Carole, Kevin & Brenda - It was sad hearing of Roger’s passing. I am thinking of all of you. I have fond memories of time at the cottage, boat rides in Michigan & Florida and helping out at pre-Alumni events at UCONN. Roger had a great sense of humor and was always kind and pleasant to me. I hope your wonderful memories provide you some comfort during this difficult time. May his legacy live on in all of you and in the many lives he touched.

  3. Ingrid anderson says:
    23 Dec 2020
    My dear friend Carole and Brenda ,Kevin and all grandchildren..
    I am deeply saddened by this sudden loss of Roger.
    I have read some of the tributes to Roger and to Carole and I’m touched by how similar these tributes are to my memories of this wonderful couple.
    We were neighbors in Valparaiso for the first 10 years of their marriage and their first home and we had many wonderful evenings and days together camping , boating and we became lifelong friends.
    I named my youngest daughter after Carole and she would call Carole MOM at times
    I remember after they had lived there for at least a year and had to go on a short vacation and I surprised them and mowed the yard . I also trimmed the yard very close to the house. When they came backThey thanked us for helping and never said a word for a year or more that I had mowed down all the precious little fir trees they Kept alive in motel rooms after digging them up somewhere on their honeymoon and watered them for
    over a year.
    There was another time that could’ve ended tragically but thank God it did not .
    We had all been together with our campers and our boats. Mauri and I had driven two cars ,he with the boat and I with the camper, to Kentucky lake .Rog and Carol came with their camper .We were going on to Florida with our camper ,and Roger was kind enough to take out boat back to Valparaiso . Carole drove their car with their camper , and fell asleep and drove off an embankment. Kent was with her.
    Carole ended Up with some bruises and some damage to the camper but no serious injuries
    The love and kindness of this beautiful loving couple goes on and on .Rest in peace dear friend and know you were so loved. You will be welcomed by Brian and Kent and my Mauri who has been in heaven eight years .

  4. Debbie Holthouse says:
    22 Dec 2020
    Dear Carole and family-
    We are so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. We will pray for comfort for all of you. I have such lovely memories of Roger and you and camping, with Anderson family in Valparaiso! Love, Debbie ( Anderson) and Fan Holthouse

  5. Barbara Thalacker says:
    21 Dec 2020
    Oh, dear Carole, Kev and Brenda and your whole family. My heart is breaking today as I read your Christmas card and realized what it meant. We lost one of the great men of our time, my dear cousin, Rog. From summer visits of childhood on Grandpa and Grandma's farm and Thalacker family reunions, to the years at Valpo when Rog and Carole were my big brother and sister. I have a picture of Roger somewhere when you found two old funeral urns, made a gigantic crematorium gate on white board and laid down on the ground in front of them with your eyes closed and you hands folded on your chest. I remember a garage sale find of a board with some raised items including a knight's helmet on it and you said that was because our relatives came from Germany in the "night". You were a good listener, but I the exception was when you were sitting in your car in the garage listening to a Tiger's game. Then you were a man of no words. I remember much sage advice and how you two were a constant in my life for years, as I babysat Kent, Kev and Brian before I graduated, ate countless Sunday dinners at your place, and enjoyed knowing that I was loved. You both were shining examples of God in our midst and you mean the world to me. Seeing you in Florida, enjoying your life was so fulfilling. When I visited Aunt Leona and Uncle Chet, you alway came over to see me. Sweet memories.
    while you are gone from our midst, we have another angel to watch over us, I was so blessed to have know you, as a cousin, fellow Valpo alum, fellow traveler and a friend. Lux Aeternum, dear one and may Perpetual Light shine upon you.

  6. Lisa Mastroianni says:
    20 Dec 2020
    Carole, Brenda, Kevin and family - We were so sorry to learn of Roger’s passing. Some of my fondest memories of growing up in Coventry include the Thalacker family. Brian and I were friends first and then Brenda became my closest friend. Mr and Mrs T always welcomed us to their house and seemed to love having a houseful of teenagers (looking back as an adult, I believe there must have been cocktails involved). It would be hard to find kinder or more caring people than Mr. and Mrs T, or a couple who were better suited. Coach T took on the challenge of being our JV basketball coach where he was always telling me to “get your bucket down, T!” – a phrase I had never heard before or since. Kent, Kevin, and Brian would sometimes assist at our practices. Rog liked to entertain us (but actually, himself) by having Dorcus run until her (his?) legs gave out. I somehow remember that the dog was always referred to as the opposite sex but maybe I am getting that wrong. These are just a couple of memories which show Rog’s quirky and infectious sense of humor. He was always enthusiastic and larger than life. I am happy that my husband and children were able to meet Rog and Carole. Although it is difficult to believe that he is no longer with us, please know that it would be impossible to forget Rog and we will cherish our memories of him. Thinking of you – Lisa (Talaga) Mastroianni and family

  7. Lisa Mastroianni says:
    20 Dec 2020
    Carole, Brenda, Kevin and family - We were so sorry to learn of Roger's passing. Some of my fondest memories of growing up in Coventry include the Thalacker family. Initially, Brian and I were friends and then Brenda became my closest friend. Mr. and Mrs. T always welcomed us to their house and seemed to love having a houseful of teenagers (as an adult looking back, I believe there must have been cocktails involved). It would be hard to find more genuinely kind and caring people than Mr. and Mrs. T., or a couple who seemed better suited. Coach T took on the challenge of being our JV basketball coach where he was always telling me to "get your bucket down, T!" - a phrase I had never heard before or since. Kent, Kevin and Brian would sometimes assist during our practices. Rog liked to entertain Brenda and me (but actually, himself) by having Dorcus run until her (his?) legs gave out. I somehow seem to remember that the dog was always referred to as the opposite sex but maybe I am getting that wrong. These are just a few memories which demonstrate his quirky and infectious sense of humor. Rog was always enthusiastic and larger than life. I am happy that my husband and children had the chance to meet Carole and Rog as well. Although it is difficult to believe that he is no longer with us, please know that it would be impossible to forget Rog and we will join with you in cherishing our memories. Thinking of you all - Lisa (Talaga) Mastroianni & family

  8. Shirley & Peter McFadden says:
    15 Dec 2020
    Carol and children,
    Roger was always one of the good guys at UConn. You wanted him on your administrative team. We benefitted so much from his good work at the Alumni Association, it made our job so much easier during the brief time it was our responsibility. He was a great role model and will be greatly missed.

    Peter & Shirley McFadden

  9. Sean McAuley lit a candle:
    15 Dec 2020
    Lit since December 15, 2020 at 12:20:11 AM

  10. Brett Laferriere says:
    07 Dec 2020
    Carole, Kevin, and Brenda,

    My heart grieves with you after learning of Roger's passing, but as I reflected on his impact to my life, it also fills with fond memories of the times our families spent together on David Drive. "Mr. and Mrs. T" will always be second parents to my brother and me. I will cherish the memories of camping in Burlingame, UCONN basketball games at the swimming pool hotel room in the Sheraton, playing basketball at the house using the wall to dunk, the Matador Rog got Brian to drive, finding crazy signs in our yards, raking the rug in the living room , hitting rocks into the woods so Dorkus could run and find them (how Mr. T trained him to do that will forever be a mystery), talking in the funny "Freddie" voice, and soooooooooooo much more. But most of all I remember hanging out with Brian, Brenda, and Derek downstairs in one of our house, and then hearing a loud chorus of laughter coming from the kitchen, with Rog cracking up the most. Those memories are dearest to me, will last forever, and always brings me to a safe, happy, warm and timeless place. Please know that each of you are thought of often, and will always be in my prayers.

    Brett, Betty, Brielle, and Bailey

  11. Traci Kadzielewski says:
    06 Dec 2020
    Our family was deeply saddened to learn of Roger's passing. Roger was a man of great faith and such a good man. He was a wonderful story teller and had a great sense of humor. We were fortunate to have spent more time in good conversation with Roger the past few years. We cherish those times and wish there could have been even more. Roger's love for Carole and the rest of his family was so apparent in both his words and actions. He was a wonderful example to all who knew him. Mullett Lake is one of our favorite places and one big reason is the Thalackers. Roger was always kind, helpful and generous. With our two children and their three cousins there was no shortage of children and chaos spilling over into their yard and onto their beach. Even though I'm sure he would have preferred some quiet on at least a few of those days, Roger was always gracious and welcoming. Roger was an incredible neighbor and friend. Truthfully, our 7 year old son put it best when he learned of Roger's passing. Through tears he said, "I loved Mr. Roger. He was always so nice to us. He's like our family. I'm going to miss him; but I know we will see him in heaven." We do love you, Thalacker family. We do think of you as family. You are all in our prayers.
    Jeff, Traci, Riley and Blake

  12. Daniel C. Leone says:
    06 Dec 2020
    Maryanne and I are very sad to learn of Roger's passing. Roger was a great leader of the UConn Alumni Association. I will always appreciate the support he provided to me as I went through the officership chairs and later was elected as an alumni member of the Board of Trustees. We have many pleasant thoughts of Roger and Carole's friendship with us. Our sympathy to Carole and the family. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Dan

  13. Cheryl (Rowland)Rondinone says:
    06 Dec 2020
    what a beautiful reminder of who he was. It brought back many memories. Please know that you are all in my heart and thoughts at this time. With my deepest sympathies.

  14. Dan Cattau says:
    05 Dec 2020
    Carole, I'm Richard Cattau's younger brother. I was saddened to learn of Roger's death as he and my brother were close friends at Phi Delta Theta at Valpo. I was searching online for his Valpo friends because my brother died today in Port Lucie, FL., just days after Roger's death. You have my email and let me know whom I should contact. Lovely tribute to Roger and am amazing career at U Conn. They might have slightly better basketball program than Valpo. I remember Roger well, and that's saying something from a younger brother. With sympathy for the family, as well, Dan

  15. George Murphy says:
    05 Dec 2020
    My parents in 1972 bought a cottage on Mullett Lake when I was 15 years old. Summer vacations from that point on for my parents, two brothers and their growing families were spent at Mullett Lake. Our immediate neighbors to our north have always been the Thalacker family. After reading Roger’s tribute, I then decided to forward it to the rest of my family. It was not long after that I was receiving some of their replies like this, Roger was a good man, he will be missed (followed by a symbol of a heart), great family, Thalacker’s have always been great neighbors. All true. I too want to reflect some of my personal feeling and admiration of Roger. He’s proven to have been a pillar of strength and courage in life. Roger was not quick to criticize others, although he asked one day why was I watering a tree that was clearly dead, so I removed tree the next day. Roger also found that one day I was flying the Detroit Tiger Flag upside down due to that days trading of Justin Verlander to Huston Astro’s. I apologized and made sure he knew I understood that the team was bigger than one player. The next day I went to raise flags for the day and Roger saw that it was something different than the Tiger flag and he shouted out let’s see the the Tigers flag. So I went and got the Tiger flag and began raising it for the day when Barb told me to turn around and look. Thats when I saw Roger saluting the flag and Carol had her hand over her heart. Boy was that funny to us and a great personal memory. We suspected that Roger must have studied metrology at some point in time due to his sixth sense ability to leave Northern Michigan just before the cold weather arrived. Roger always seemed to be organized and had a plan to get things done, he walked through life proud of his family and with great faith. Roger, we will miss you but always remember you. God speed, George and Barbara.

  16. Mike Steppe posted an image:
    05 Dec 2020
    Photo of Roger with our son Jason Steppe taken at Charlene and Dons house in Coventry circa 1989.
    Photo of Roger with our son Jason Steppe taken at Charlene and Dons house in Coventry circa 1989.

  17. Ed Kadzielewski says:
    05 Dec 2020
    When we bought our cottage on Mullett Lake next door to Roger and Carole, our kids told them not to worry, they will probably sell it in three months. We are so happy we didn't, and so began our 20 year wonderful relationship with them.

    It's hard to be the new people on the block, but Roger immediately made us feel welcome. It wasn't long before we felt like we had known him forever through his incredible gift of storytelling that kept us in stitches. We especially loved hearing his stories about growing up on Mullett Lake, and how it never seemed to change. Roger was such a wonderful family man. You could see it in the way he took such wonderful care of Carole, and the interaction he had with his family.

    Unfortunately for him, our family took an instant liking to him as well. Our grandchildren would often be knocking at his door, making up cards for them and probably pestered him far too often, but you never knew it. There were countless times when our family (dog included) had practically taken over his yard and beach, also probably far too often, pestering, but you never new that either. Instead, he would be prepping the beach, raking, and building up the sand to make sure everything was nice for everyone.

    We can't think of a more loving, kind and generous man than Roger. We loved our long conversations, dinners, drinks on the deck, game nights and laughter. We wish we had known him longer than the 20 short years we had. Those were some of the best years of our lives. We will always remember him, wearing his white robe, sitting in his recliner very early every morning, and looking out at his beloved Mullett Lake.

    Rest In Peace, Roger; you will be greatly missed. We send our love to all.

    Ed & Bev

  18. Raymond Dimmock says:
    05 Dec 2020
    So sad to hear of the Thalacker family’s loss in the passing of Roger. Our family was close to all of them back when our kids were growing up. Roger and I coached girls basketball together. He was a great coach but my favorite memory is how he developed a game plan that resulted in us winning our quarter final game against a team that had won the state championship for the seven prior years. We won that game due to his plan and then won the semifinal game and the state championship.

    I have so many memories of Roger and all of his family, and how close we were to all of them. We had fun coaching together as well as partying with them too.

    May he Rest In Peace and may his family be comforted by all their wonderful memories of great times together. My thoughts and prayers are with you Carole, Kent, Brenda and the rest of the family.

    The Dimmocks

  19. Shawn Dimmock says:
    05 Dec 2020
    I am so saddened by this news. My fondest high school memories are of times spent with this wonderful family. As I have gone through life there have been a few truly influential, memorable people that stand out to me. Coach Thalacker was one of those people. There will always be a special place for him in my heart, right next to the spot for Brian.
    Carole, Kevin, and Brenda I send you my love and prayers. My your memories of that bright smile and joyful heart comfort you.
    Shawn Dickson Dimmock (Kip)

  20. Dana Gould says:
    05 Dec 2020
    I served six years on the UConn Alumni Board of Directors under Roger, and they were the best volunteer years of my life. Roger and Carole are two of the best people I have ever met, and their memories will remain with me forever. A;though I have not talked to either of them since they left UConn, I still think of the very often, and I am sure I will continue to do so.

  21. Paul Mariano says:
    04 Dec 2020
    Carole, Brenda, Kevin and family,

    We are so sorry to hear about Roger's passing. He was truly a mentor to me.
    My first interaction with Roger was as a summer intern in the Alumni Office in 1976.
    I can remember it like it was yesterday. I had one semester to go and Linda and I got married that summer. She worked upstairs in the Faculty Club and I was downstairs in the Alumni Office. Roger always took the time to talk and treated me as a peer. He always took the time to tell a story or give some advise. It was several years later that he approached me about running for the Alumni Association Board of Directors which opened up a whole new world to me. Friendships and memories that have lasted the last 30 plus years. There were meetings, dinners, Big East and NCAA tournaments, Alumni events in Florida and ultimately Roger's retirement just as I was elected President of the Association. Carole, one vivid memory for me was the night the four of us had dinner in Orlando after an alumni reception! The early days in the Alumni house! The memories are flooding back as I write this! He was truly one of the "Good Guys".

    May he rest in peace,

    Paul & Linda Mariano

  22. Richard & JoAnn Goodwin says:
    04 Dec 2020
    We are so saddened to learn we lost our good friend and neighbor, Roger. He was also a mentor and a solid example of a husband, dad, granddad(Pop) and a lifelong friend. We enjoyed those special Coventry events at "The Thalacker's" which always turned into something special and unforgettable. Roger was so easy to talk to about anything! He enjoyed talking about MLB, especially his Tigers as well as my Red Sox. The early times of Little League were some of the most enjoyable as well as teaching experiences by Rog. He always had a plan and a strategy. He will be so missed. We send our love and sympathy to Carole, the family and all who are grieving. Rest In Peace dear friend.
    Love, Dick & Jaye

  23. Deni says:
    04 Dec 2020
    My heart is aching. From day one, you welcomed me into your family and have always treated me as your own daughter. I'll always cherish our special "gag" gifts we gave one another for Christmas. Thank you for being there for me and the girls when we lost Kent, and the sage words of advice to "live for the living". Forever grateful for the kindness, generosity and the laughter. I love you and will miss you. Love always, Deni

  24. Rich Morrison says:
    04 Dec 2020
    It's hard to believe that you aren't here but you always will be with us all because of who your were. The memories will never leave us!! Ok, I'm still trying to get over the fact that you left me on your roof at Mullet Lake this past summer when I was cleaning it off. I still have a vision of you while I was clinging onto the chimney, running after a trash truck holding large pieces of your patio table that was destroyed by a fallen tree under each of your arms. When you finally came back I asked you why you weren't holding onto the ladder while I was up on the roof and without hesitation you said, "I only do that for my friends". Your quick sense of humor and sharp mind is something I will always remember, especially when you torched me in hand and foot which was every game. To me you were a man of solid virtue, who walked a humble step. You were always kind to everyone you met and I know you loved your family fiercely. I was amazed that you could carry the burden of solemn grief after losing 2 sons yet you had the strength to turn that into a lesson for all of us to always embrace the fullness of life. You never gave me or anyone your opinion unless we asked and we were always grateful because of your keen wisdom. Roger you were always strong and a fighter to the very end, a role model for me and an amazing man. I am so blessed to have known you. I will miss you. Your son in law, Rich.

  25. Bob and Jay says:
    04 Dec 2020
    Hi Carole,
    Thank you for the obituary for Roger. I can just hear him say "It's too many words ". We will miss him so much with his terrific sense of humor. We will need to keep in touch more so now than ever. You are in our prayers through all of these tough times, but God always has a plan for us. Keep strong in your faith. We send you our deepest sympathy and love. Hugs, Bob and Jay

  26. Rich Morrison posted an image:
    04 Dec 2020
    Just another normal day hanging out with Papa Rog at Epcot center - You were an amazing man, great father in law and honorary Viking for a day!
    Just another normal day hanging out with Papa Rog at Epcot center - You were an amazing man, great father in law and honorary Viking for a day!

  27. David Marks says:
    04 Dec 2020
    Roger was head of the Alumni Association when I was nominated eventually rising to President under Roger’s careful and caring direction. We work hard to build the Alumni house a vision that Roger had for several years that finally came fruition in my last years on the board
    He was a true leader, friend and above all someone everyone respected
    He will be missed and was a true blue Uconn visionary.

  28. Roy and Barbara Awe says:
    04 Dec 2020
    We join with the Thalacker Family and many friends, to express our love and profound sympathy at the loss of a dear husband, father, Papa, and friend,
    Roger Thalacker.
    We so cherish the fond memories we have of our times together with Rog and Carole—as do many others—we are certain. There were laughs galore and important milestones along the way to be sure.
    Rest In Peace, dear Roger
    God Bless, and Love you All
    Roy and Barbara
    “Absent from the body, present with

  29. Frank A. Napolitano says:
    04 Dec 2020
    Roger was the guy who got things done for the UConn Alumni Association. He supported each of us who went through the chairs as Alumni President and never dropped the ball. I worked with him during my year as president on developing plans to build an alumni house, which is still one of the most beautiful buildings on campus. We had a lot of fun tailgating at football games with Dick Kelly, Dick Pacelli, Lou Mooradian, Julio Leandri and anyone else who wanted a nip of Glenlivet from the trunk of his car. Always a gentleman, not afraid to speak his mind and totally committed to the Alumni Association. Jane and I had dinner in Venice, FL with Carole and Rog a few years ago and I'm glad that we had a few telephone calls over the years since he retired. I will always remember him as a friend and someone who loved the University of Connecticut.

  30. Nick Zaharias says:
    04 Dec 2020
    Roger was undoubtedly the biggest influence on my near 40-year career in advancement. Beyond the work we all do to make the world a better place via our efforts, Roger also taught us about the importance of family, maintaining one's sense of humor, the art of telling a good story (no one will ever top Roger there), and never taking yourself too seriously.

    So many great stories come to mind, but my favorite involves Roger's "pedal to the metal" driving style. We left a UConn Alumni Committee meeting in Manchester late one night and said goodnight to Roger in the parking lot. Bobby Hopson and I decided to tail Roger to the back roads of Coventry. Once we caught up to him (no easy feat), and being a volunteer EMT and Firefighter at the time, I switched on the alternating high beams, and blue lights, in the grill in my black Grand Am, and we pulled him over for speeding. We made Roger sit and sweat for a good ten minutes as we "ran his plate." He even opened his door at one point, and Bobby yelled at him in a stern, officer-like voice, to return to his vehicle. After we started to get nervous about possibly losing our jobs, Bob approached the car, staying back from the window a bit, and asked for Roger's license and registration. He reached for them but turned to look at Bob since the voice sounded familiar, and the gig was up. We had finally nailed the master prankster at his own game! Years later, when I had those lights removed from the grill, Bobby and I made a trophy out of them and presented it to Roger.

    Roger was one of a kind, and his work and life lessons will carry on in all of us who knew him, and we'll miss him tremendously.

  31. Joan & Ted Walbourn says:
    04 Dec 2020
    Carole, that is such a beautiful & amazing tribute. You have captured the essence of Roger, a truly beloved & wonderful friend. We will miss him terribly but will always smile while remembering him. His warmth, humanity, & love of life & family were his hallmarks, while his sense of humor was his trademark. We are heartbroken to have lost such a generous, loving friend & the world’s best neighbor. Love, Joan & Ted

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