Cover photo for Claude Nile Thacker's Obituary
Claude Nile Thacker Profile Photo
1947 Claude 2022

Claude Nile Thacker

November 8, 1947 — December 1, 2022

On December 1, 2022, Claude Nile Thacker finished his work on this Earth and returned to his Father in Heaven, whom he had diligently served during his 75 years of life. Nile served God by consistently and joyously serving all those around him, whether that service took the form of significant work and sacrifices or simply by brightening people’s days with a smile and a song. He was engaged in this work—taking toy cars to various hospitals so they could be given to the children there—when he was taken in a tragic car accident. Nile is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Gloria Jean (Madsen) Thacker; his brother, Dallas Thacker; and his four children and their spouses: Marilee and Eduard van Stam, Jeffrey and Suzanne Thacker, Allen Thacker, Julianna and Jason Merrill, and Jillian Wilson, who will always be a daughter to him. Nile also doted on and was cherished by his 13 grandchildren: Katelyn and her husband Kyle, Brooklyn, Emily, Daxon, Marcel, Ryker, Beau, Jesse, Justin, Zaylee, Finn, and Priya.

Nile was born on November 8, 1947, in Coalville, Utah, to Claude Merlin and Hilda Grace Fullmer Thacker. The youngest of 11 children, Nile spent his childhood in Kamas, Utah, and other parts of Summit County fishing and hunting with his brothers and assisting with his dad’s carpentry, stonework, and other building projects. After graduating from South Summit High School in 1966, Nile enlisted in the Army, serving as a combat medic in Vietnam. He later continued his military service in the Army Reserve and then again in the National Guard.

After his tour in Vietnam, Nile served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, working in the state of Oklahoma in what was then called the Central States Mission from 1970 to 1972. This engendered a lifelong passion for serving in his church, where he held many ward callings, spent years as a temple worker, and volunteered at the Conference Center and Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Whatever role he was asked to fill, he did so attentively and dependably.

Nile had begun working toward a degree at Salt Lake Community College when he met his future wife, Gloria, who was living in Provo, Utah. After getting to know her a little and deciding he needed to know her better, he transferred his credits to Utah Technical College at Provo. Nile started waiting for Gloria, a volunteer at the Provo Temple at the time, to finish her shift almost every week so they could do a temple session together. They soon cultivated a love that remained steadfast for the rest of his days, and they were married on June 1, 1974, one day after he graduated with his degree in carpentry.

Nile started his career doing various building projects with his brother, Chad, before applying for his first roofing job in 1976. The roofing company owner was hesitant to hire Nile because he didn’t have any specific roofing experience. Nile told the owner that he would work for free for one day and that he could decide whether or not to hire Nile after that. On that unpaid day, Nile worked so hard and with such skill that he was hired on the spot. Nile eventually partnered with fellow roofer John Pappas in their own roofing company, then founded Thacker Roofing in 1997. For over 40 years, he strived for and earned a sterling reputation for honesty and quality in this demanding and highly competitive field.

Though Nile worked hard, his personal life was also filled with diverse, joyful activities. He sang whenever he had the chance, performing hilarious cowboy songs at birthday parties, family gatherings, weddings, church events, and many other settings. He was also active in several barbershop quartets over the years.

He never lost his childhood love of fishing, hunting, and other outdoor sports. He loved going to movies, traveled often, and was an accomplished dutch oven cook. He devoured Louis L’Amour novels and lots of pie and ice cream. Of all his passions, though, his favorite was unquestionably helping other people, which is how he decided to spend his retirement.

Long before retiring in 2020, Nile fell in love with a charity organization founded by his cousin, Alton Thacker: Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids. At their toy factory, they made wooden toy cars that were donated to children in need all over the world. When he retired, Nile became the factory manager, volunteering 60+ hours a week to this work of kindness. He oversaw the transformation of tons of donated wood into 100,000 toys in 2021 and even more in 2022. He would work all day at the factory, then take home a box of parts so he could keep attaching wheels while he relaxed at home. He carried cars in his truck and often in his pockets so he could give them away whenever he had the chance. He spent most of the last three years of his life bringing joy to children all over the world, and he loved every minute of it.

Nile Thacker was truly a one of a kind, and everyone he encountered benefited from the experience. Those closest to him, his wife, children, and grandchildren, are ever grateful for his example, his wisdom, and his love. He will be missed by all who knew him, but his powerful, heartening sway will live on through all those he influenced.

Nile’s funeral will be held on Friday, December 9, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. at the LDS Stake Center located at 11632 S. Night Heron Road, South Jordan, Utah 84006.
The family will also hold a viewing the day before, December 8, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the same location. Nile will be interred at the Marion Cemetery, located at 832 E. 2700 N., Kamas, Utah 84036. A graveside service will be held on December 9 at 4:30 p.m.

There will also be a celebration of Nile’s life held at Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids, 6818 Airport Road, West Jordan, Utah 84084, on February 11, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Those wishing to give something to help support Nile’s wife and best friend, Gloria, can do so at https://gofund.me/a92ff798 .
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Claude Nile Thacker, please visit our flower store.

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Thursday, December 8, 2022

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Service

Friday, December 9, 2022

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Graveside Service

Friday, December 9, 2022

Starts at 4:30 pm (Mountain time)

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