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Subject: Brigadier General James B. Thayer dies at 96

Father of KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer
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Date Posted: Monday, November 26, 03:55:09pm


PORTLAND, Ore. (Tribune News Service) Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer died Sunday at age 96, according to an announcement from the rock band Kiss, in which Thayer's son, Tommy, is a guitarist.

A Portland native, Thayer grew up on a farm in Carlton, north of McMinnville, ultimately graduating from the University of Oregon. He received the Silver Star and Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, and was credited with liberating the Gunskirchen Nazi death camp, which he discovered while leading a platoon in Austria in May 1945.

"I didn't know what to do," he recalled in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive in 2012. "I got on the radio and said, 'We need all the help we can get, right away.'

After the war Thayer served as a colonel in the Army Reserves and was promoted to brigadier general and commander of the Oregon State Defense Force. He also owned an office supply business the J. Thayer Co., and served on the boards of the Port of Portland, Reed College, the Oregon Graduate Institute and other organizations. Thayer had been living recently at a retirement community in Lake Oswego.

The Oregon Military Museum, under renovation at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, was named for him in 2012.

Thayer and his wife, Patricia, had five children, Jim Jr., John, Tommy, Michael and Anne, according to a University of Oregon profile.

Patricia and Anne preceded him in death, according to that profile. His son Tommy has been associated with the hard rock band Kiss since the 1980s and formally joined the band as its lead guitarist in 2002. Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, whose own mother was a holocaust survivor, once said he owed "a debt of gratitude to Gen. Thayer."

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Subject Author Date
Bad day for celebrity parents. (NT).Monday, November 26, 04:10:30pm
He died months ago. I believe it was mentioned here in September. (NT).Monday, November 26, 04:25:22pm

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