Deceased June 10, 2019

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In Memory

We learned that Rick Thayer died this past June at his home in Boulder, Colo.

As a friend and roommate, we knew Rick perhaps as well as any of our classmates. He was, simultaneously, very private and actively social. As another of his Pond roommates aptly summed it up, “Rick was a little high strung, like any thoroughbred, but he was a good guy.”

Some of us learned in our junior year that Rick had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which he outwardly treated rather casually in the prevalent ethos of the time, always make the difficult seem easy.

Rick was a music lover. We were all jealous he made it to Woodstock, especially all these many years later. Our sophomore year, he was instrumental in bringing Buddy Guy and Junior Wells to campus and boy was he and all the rest of us psyched. We spent hours in his room at Chi Phi listening to and marveling at the Rolling Stones new album, Goats Head Soup, half wanting to be Mick Taylor, half Mick Jagger when we grew up. 

Rick graduated with honors from the Belmont Hill School and came to Amherst where he was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity and graduated cum laude.

After graduation, Rick went his own way and was missed at reunions and other Amherst events. Following Amherst, he attended Boston University School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. His official obituary tells us that after law school, he was a successful corporate attorney who had worked in the banking and telecom industries across the country. Another of our Chi Phi roommates, Greg Schermer ’76, had the pleasure of working with Rick later in life, in fact negotiated a patent license with him. Outside of family and work, Rick was active in the Boulder community as a board leader for historic and cultural institutions.

Rick’s Amherst ties go back to the 19th century; he was a fourth-generation Thayer! He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Jaclyn, and his beloved children, Alexandra and Rhett. Also surviving are his brother, Hal ’74 (whom many of us knew); two sisters, Lynda Thayer and A.S. Thayer, and eight nieces and nephews.

“I have been blessed with an amazingly wonderful life,” he once observed, “one that has a few people who deeply care about me and about whom I care deeply—what more can a person really ask for?”


Dan Lundquist ’76
Alan Greene ’76


Rick Thayer died peacefully at home in Boulder, Colo., on June 10, 2019. He leaves his wife, Jaclyn, and their children, Rhett and Alexandra. 

Rick loved life and adventures of all kinds. He had a passion for travel and learning. From attending Woodstock as a teenager, to studying in Paris as a young man, to world travels with his family, Rick was fascinated with the world and all that could be learned from exploring the globe. He was proud to be a man of high character, with the utmost integrity and honesty. People looked up to him, many calling him “counselor” for the wisdom he shared, not only about law but his wisdom about life. He had strong opinions and looked forward to a good debate, and those who were fortunate enough to know him could always count on enjoying his stories, quick wit and peerless sense of humor. All will miss his playfulness and whimsey. Rick was one of those truly unique individuals who had it all—his intellect made him a brilliant lawyer, his creative spirit was expressed as an amazing writer and artist and his compassionate spirit, nimble mind and self-deprecating humor made him the man we loved.

“I have been blessed with an amazingly wonderful life,” he told a good friend last summer.  “One that has a few people who deeply cared about me and about whom I care deeply—what more can a person really ask for?”

Born in Chestnut Hill, Rick graduated from Belmont Hill School, cum laude from Amherst College, where he was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity and received his Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law. In his early career, he served as general counsel of the Devonshire Trust Corp. and Commonwealth Equities and State Street Bank. In 1989 his career took him Jacksonville, Fla., as general counsel and chief commercial counsel with AT&T. Admissions to Practice—Colorado, Massachusetts and Florida. 

The mountains of Colorado calling, Rick moved his family to Boulder in 1999 and continued with AT&T, leading all negotiations of cable and wireless franchise agreements and litigation matters within 14 states in the western region of U.S. Rick was a brilliant attorney with a flawless record of success in all matters of compliance, litigation, the drafting of documents for local government bodies and consumer complaint and protection agencies. He championed the introduction of cable internet services in the region, coordinating all matters of regulatory compliance.

After leaving AT&T and spending two years with his family living in France and traveling through Europe, Rick spent the last 12 years of practice as associate general counsel at Level 3/Comcast Communications, Broomfield, Colo., where he fulfilled a critical role in negotiations, developing and managing interconnection commercial agreements and securing contracts with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Comcast and Cox as well as multiple rural carriers. He participated in multiple advocacy projects at the FCC and in Federal Courts, including co-author of Supreme Court brief in Core Communications v. FCC, Nos. 10-185 & 10-18.

Awards: American Telemarketing Association Chairman’s award for Outstanding Projects, American Transtech President’s award for Process Improvement; AT&T Wizard award for Negotiations, Level 3 OIL Drum award. Community Activities:  Boulder Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Boulder History Museum, Play Foundation Legal Counsel and Board member, First Congregational Church Youth Advisory Council member.

Jaclyn Thayer